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cfa2020 level 1 schwesernotes book 2

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Contents
1. Learning Outcome Statements (LOS)
2. Reading 12: Topics in Demand and Supply Analysis
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 12.1: Elasticity
3. Module 12.2: Demand and Supply
4. Key Concepts
5. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
3. Reading 13: The Firm and Market Structures
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 13.1: Perfect Competition
3. Module 13.2: Monopolistic Competition
4. Module 13.3: Oligopoly
5. Module 13.4: Monopoly and Concentration
6. Key Concepts
7. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
4. Reading 14: Aggregate Output, Prices, and Economic Growth
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 14.1: GDP, Income, and Expenditures
3. Module 14.2: Aggregate Demand and Supply
4. Module 14.3: Macroeconomic Equilibrium and Growth
5. Key Concepts
6. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
5. Reading 15: Understanding Business Cycles
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 15.1: Business Cycle Phases
3. Module 15.2: Inflation and Indicators
4. Key Concepts
5. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
6. Reading 16: Monetary and Fiscal Policy
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 16.1: Money and Inflation
3. Module 16.2: Monetary Policy
4. Module 16.3: Fiscal Policy
5. Key Concepts
6. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
7. Reading 17: International Trade and Capital Flows
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 17.1: International Trade Benefits
3. Module 17.2: Trade Restrictions
4. Key Concepts
5. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
8. Reading 18: Currency Exchange Rates
1. Exam Focus
2. Module 18.1: Foreign Exchange Rates
3. Module 18.2: Forward Exchange Rates
4. Module 18.3: Managing Exchange Rates
5. Key Concepts
6. Answer Key for Module Quizzes
9. Topic Assessment: Economics
1. Topic Assessment Answers: Economics
10. Formulas
11. Copyright
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LEARNING OUTCOME STATEMENTS (LOS)
STUDY SESSION 4
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
12. Topics in Demand and Supply Analysis
The candidate should be able to:
a. calculate and interpret price, income, and cross-price elasticities of demand and describe
factors that affect each measure. (page 1)
b. compare substitution and income effects. (page 7)
c. distinguish between normal goods and inferior goods. (page 7)
d. describe the phenomenon of diminishing marginal returns. (page 8)
e. determine and interpret breakeven and shutdown points of production. (page 10)
f. describe how economies of scale and diseconomies of scale affect costs. (page 13)
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
13. The Firm and Market Structures
The candidate should be able to:
a. describe characteristics of perfect competition, monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and
pure monopoly. (page 19)
b. explain relationships between price, marginal revenue, marginal cost, economic profit,
and the elasticity of demand under each market structure. (page 22)
c. describe a firm’s supply function under each market structure. (page 41)
d. describe and determine the optimal price and output for firms under each market
structure. (page 22)
e. explain factors affecting long-run equilibrium under each market structure. (page 22)
f. describe pricing strategy under each market structure. (page 42)
g. describe the use and limitations of concentration measures in identifying market
structure. (page 43)
h. identify the type of market structure within which a firm operates. (page 44)
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
14. Aggregate Output, Prices, and Economic Growth
The candidate should be able to:
a. calculate and explain gross domestic product (GDP) using expenditure and income
approaches. (page 51)
b. compare the sum-of-value-added and value-of-final-output methods of calculating GDP.
(page 52)
c. compare nominal and real GDP and calculate and interpret the GDP deflator. (page 53)
d. compare GDP, national income, personal income, and personal disposable income.
(page 54)
e. explain the fundamental relationship among saving, investment, the fiscal balance, and
the trade balance. (page 56)
f. explain the IS and LM curves and how they combine to generate the aggregate demand
curve. (page 58)
g. explain the aggregate supply curve in the short run and long run. (page 62)
h. explain causes of movements along and shifts in aggregate demand and supply curves.
(page 63)
i. describe how fluctuations in aggregate demand and aggregate supply cause short-run
changes in the economy and the business cycle. (page 67)
j. distinguish between the following types of macroeconomic equilibria: long-run full
employment, short-run recessionary gap, short-run inflationary gap, and short-run
stagflation. (page 67)
k. explain how a short-run macroeconomic equilibrium may occur at a level above or
below full employment. (page 67)
l. analyze the effect of combined changes in aggregate supply and demand on the
economy. (page 70)
m. describe sources, measurement, and sustainability of economic growth. (page 72)
n. describe the production function approach to analyzing the sources of economic growth.
(page 73)
o. distinguish between input growth and growth of total factor productivity as components
of economic growth. (page 74)
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
15. Understanding Business Cycles
The candidate should be able to:
a. describe the business cycle and its phases. (page 83)
b. describe how resource use, housing sector activity, and external trade sector activity
vary as an economy moves through the business cycle. (page 84)
c. describe theories of the business cycle. (page 87)
d. describe types of unemployment and compare measures of unemployment. (page 89)
e. explain inflation, hyperinflation, disinflation, and deflation. (page 90)
f. explain the construction of indexes used to measure inflation. (page 91)
g. compare inflation measures, including their uses and limitations. (page 93)
h. distinguish between cost-push and demand-pull inflation. (page 95)
i. interpret a set of economic indicators and describe their uses and limitations. (page 97)
STUDY SESSION 5
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
16. Monetary and Fiscal Policy
The candidate should be able to:
a. compare monetary and fiscal policy. (page 105)
b. describe functions and definitions of money. (page 106)
c. explain the money creation process. (page 107)
d. describe theories of the demand for and supply of money. (page 108)
e. describe the Fisher effect. (page 110)
f. describe roles and objectives of central banks. (page 111)
g. contrast the costs of expected and unexpected inflation. (page 112)
h. describe tools used to implement monetary policy. (page 114)
i. describe the monetary transmission mechanism. (page 115)
j. describe qualities of effective central banks. (page 115)
k. explain the relationships between monetary policy and economic growth, inflation,
interest, and exchange rates. (page 116)
l. contrast the use of inflation, interest rate, and exchange rate targeting by central banks.
(page 117)
m. determine whether a monetary policy is expansionary or contractionary. (page 118)
n. describe limitations of monetary policy. (page 119)
o. describe roles and objectives of fiscal policy. (page 121)
p. describe tools of fiscal policy, including their advantages and disadvantages. (page 122)
q. describe the arguments about whether the size of a national debt relative to GDP
matters. (page 125)
r. explain the implementation of fiscal policy and difficulties of implementation.
(page 126)
s. determine whether a fiscal policy is expansionary or contractionary. (page 127)
t. explain the interaction of monetary and fiscal policy. (page 128)
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
17. International Trade and Capital Flows
The candidate should be able to:
a. compare gross domestic product and gross national product. (page 138)
b. describe benefits and costs of international trade. (page 138)
c. distinguish between comparative advantage and absolute advantage. (page 139)
d. compare the Ricardian and Heckscher–Ohlin models of trade and the source(s) of
comparative advantage in each model. (page 141)
e. compare types of trade and capital restrictions and their economic implications.
(page 142)
f. explain motivations for and advantages of trading blocs, common markets, and
economic unions. (page 146)
g. describe common objectives of capital restrictions imposed by governments. (page 147)
h. describe the balance of payments accounts including their components. (page 148)
i. explain how decisions by consumers, firms, and governments affect the balance of
payments. (page 149)
j. describe functions and objectives of the international organizations that facilitate trade,
including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade
Organization. (page 150)
The topical coverage corresponds with the following CFA Institute assigned reading:
18. Currency Exchange Rates
The candidate should be able to:
a. define an exchange rate and distinguish between nominal and real exchange rates and
spot and forward exchange rates. (page 159)
b. describe functions of and participants in the foreign exchange market. (page 162)
c. calculate and interpret the percentage change in a currency relative to another currency.
(page 163)
d. calculate and interpret currency cross-rates. (page 163)
e. convert forward quotations expressed on a points basis or in percentage terms into an
outright forward quotation. (page 165)
f. explain the arbitrage relationship between spot rates, forward rates, and interest rates.
(page 165)
g. calculate and interpret a forward discount or premium. (page 166)
h. calculate and interpret the forward rate consistent with the spot rate and the interest rate
in each currency. (page 166)
i. describe exchange rate regimes. (page 168)
j. explain the effects of exchange rates on countries’ international trade and capital flows.
(page 170)
The following is a review of the Economics (1) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #12.
READING 12: TOPICS IN DEMAND AND
SUPPLY ANALYSIS
Study Session 4
EXAM FOCUS
The Level I Economics curriculum assumes candidates are familiar with concepts such as
supply and demand, utility-maximizing consumers, and the product and cost curves of firms.
CFA Institute has posted three assigned readings to its website as prerequisites for Level I
Economics. If you have not studied economics before (or if it has been a while), you should
review these readings, along with the video instruction, study notes, and review questions for
each of them in your online Schweser Resource Library to get up to speed.
MODULE 12.1: ELASTICITY
LOS 12.a: Calculate and interpret price, income, and cross-price
elasticities of demand and describe factors that affect each measure.
Video covering
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available online.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 9
Own-Price Elasticity of Demand
Own-price elasticity is a measure of the responsiveness of the quantity demanded to a
change in price. It is calculated as the ratio of the percentage change in quantity demanded to
a percentage change in price. With downward-sloping demand (i.e., an increase in price
decreases quantity demanded), own-price elasticity is negative.
When the quantity demanded is very responsive to a change in price (absolute value of
elasticity > 1), we say demand is elastic; when the quantity demanded is not very responsive
to a change in price (absolute value of elasticity < 1), we say that demand is inelastic. In
Figure 12.1, we illustrate the most extreme cases: perfectly elastic demand (at any higher
price, quantity demanded decreases to zero) and perfectly inelastic demand (a change in price
has no effect on quantity demanded).
Figure 12.1: Perfectly Inelastic and Perfectly Elastic Demand
When there are few or no good substitutes for a good, demand tends to be relatively inelastic.
Consider a drug that keeps you alive by regulating your heart. If two pills per day keep you
alive, you are unlikely to decrease your purchases if the price goes up and also quite unlikely
to increase your purchases if price goes down.
When one or more goods are very good substitutes for the good in question, demand will tend
to be very elastic. Consider two gas stations along your regular commute that offer gasoline
of equal quality. A decrease in the posted price at one station may cause you to purchase all
your gasoline there, while a price increase may lead you to purchase all your gasoline at the
other station. Remember, we calculate demand and elasticity while holding the prices of
related goods (in this case, the price of gas at the other station) constant.
Other factors affect demand elasticity in addition to the quality and availability of substitutes:
Portion of income spent on a good. The larger the proportion of income spent on a
good, the more elastic an individual’s demand for that good. If the price of a preferred
brand of toothpaste increases, a consumer may not change brands or adjust the amount
used if the customer prefers to simply pay the extra cost. When housing costs increase,
however, a consumer will be much more likely to adjust consumption, because rent is a
fairly large proportion of income.
Time. Elasticity of demand tends to be greater the longer the time period since the
price change. For example, when energy prices initially rise, some adjustments to
consumption are likely made quickly. Consumers can lower the thermostat
temperature. Over time, adjustments such as smaller living quarters, better insulation,
more efficient windows, and installation of alternative heat sources are more easily
made, and the effect of the price change on consumption of energy is greater.
It is important to understand that elasticity is not equal to the slope of a demand curve (except
for the extreme examples of perfectly elastic or perfectly inelastic demand). Slope is
dependent on the units that price and quantity are measured in. Elasticity is not dependent on
units of measurement because it is based on percentage changes.
Figure 12.2 shows how elasticity changes along a linear demand curve. In the upper part of
the demand curve, elasticity is greater (in absolute value) than 1; in other words, the
percentage change in quantity demanded is greater than the percentage change in price. In the
lower part of the curve, the percentage change in quantity demanded is smaller than the
percentage change in price.
Figure 12.2: Price Elasticity Along a Linear Demand Curve
At point (a), in a higher price range, the price elasticity of demand is greater than at
point (c) in a lower price range.
The elasticity at point (b) is –1.0; a 1% increase in price leads to a 1% decrease in
quantity demanded. This is the point of greatest total revenue (P × Q), which is 4.50 ×
45 = $202.50.
At prices less than $4.50 (inelastic range), total revenue will increase when price
increases. The percentage decrease in quantity demanded will be less than the
percentage increase in price.
At prices above $4.50 (elastic range), a price increase will decrease total revenue since
the percentage decrease in quantity demanded will be greater than the percentage
increase in price.
An important point to consider about the price and quantity combination for which price
elasticity equals – 1.0 (unit or unitary elasticity) is that total revenue (price × quantity) is
maximized at that price. An increase in price moves us to the elastic region of the curve so
that the percentage decrease in quantity demanded is greater than the percentage increase in
price, resulting in a decrease in total revenue. A decrease in price from the point of unitary
elasticity moves us into the inelastic region of the curve so that the percentage decrease in
price is more than the percentage increase in quantity demanded, resulting, again, in a
decrease in total revenue.
Income Elasticity of Demand
Recall that one of the independent variables in our example of a demand function for gasoline
was income. The sensitivity of quantity demanded to a change in income is termed income
elasticity. Holding other independent variables constant, we can measure income elasticity as
the ratio of the percentage change in quantity demanded to the percentage change in income.
For most goods, the sign of income elasticity is positive—an increase in income leads to an
increase in quantity demanded. Goods for which this is the case are termed normal goods.
For other goods, it may be the case that an increase in income leads to a decrease in quantity
demanded. Goods for which this is true are termed inferior goods.
Cross-Price Elasticity of Demand
Recall that some of the independent variables in a demand function are the prices of related
goods (related in the sense that their prices affect the demand for the good in question). The
ratio of the percentage change in the quantity demanded of a good to the percentage change
in the price of a related good is termed the cross-price elasticity of demand.
When an increase in the price of a related good increases demand for a good, the two goods
are substitutes. If Bread A and Bread B are two brands of bread, considered good substitutes
by many consumers, an increase in the price of one will lead consumers to purchase more of
the other (substitute the other). When the cross-price elasticity of demand is positive (price of
one is up and quantity demanded for the other is up), we say those goods are substitutes.
When an increase in the price of a related good decreases demand for a good, the two goods
are complements. If an increase in the price of automobiles (less automobiles purchased)
leads to a decrease in the demand for gasoline, they are complements. Right shoes and left
shoes are perfect complements for most of us and, as a result, shoes are priced by the pair. If
they were priced separately, there is little doubt that an increase in the price of left shoes
would decrease the quantity demanded of right shoes. Overall, the cross-price elasticity of
demand is more positive the better substitutes two goods are and more negative the better
complements the two goods are.
Calculating Elasticities
The price elasticity of demand is defined as:
%ΔQ
%ΔP
=
The term
form:
ΔQ/Q
0
ΔP/P0
ΔQ
ΔP
P0
=( Q
)×( ΔP )
ΔQ
0
is the slope of a demand function that (for a linear demand function) takes the
quantity demanded = A + B × price
In such a function, B is the slope of the line. A demand curve is the inverse of the demand
function, in which price is given as a function of quantity demanded.
As an example, consider a demand function with A = 100 and B = –2, so that Q = 100 – 2P.
ΔQ
The slope, ΔP , of this line is –2. The corresponding demand curve for this demand function
is: P = 100 / 2 – Q / 2 = 50 – 1/2 Q. Therefore, given a demand curve, we can calculate the
slope of the demand function as the reciprocal of slope term, –1/2, of the demand curve
(i.e., the reciprocal of –1/2 is –2, the slope of the demand function).
EXAMPLE: Calculating price elasticity of demand
A demand function for gasoline is as follows:
QDgas = 138,500 – 12,500Pgas
Calculate the price elasticity at a gasoline price of $3 per gallon.
Answer:
We can calculate the quantity demanded at a price of $3 per gallon as 138,500 – 12,500(3) = 101,000.
ΔQ
Substituting 3 for P0, 101,000 for Q0, and –12,500 for ( ΔP ), we can calculate the price elasticity of
demand as:
EDemand =
%ΔQ
%ΔP
= ( 101 000 ) × (−12, 500) = −0.37
3
,
For this demand function, at a price and quantity of $3 per gallon and 101,000 gallons, demand is inelastic.
The techniques for calculating the income elasticity of demand and the cross-price elasticity
of demand are the same, as illustrated in the following example. We assume values for all the
independent variables, except the one of interest, then calculate elasticity for a given value of
the variable of interest.
EXAMPLE: Calculating income elasticity and cross-price elasticity
An individual has the following demand function for gasoline:
QD gas = 15 – 3Pgas + 0.02I + 0.11PBT – 0.008Pauto
where income and car price are measured in thousands, and the price of bus travel is measured in average
dollars per 100 miles traveled.
Assuming the average automobile price is $22,000, income is $40,000, the price of bus travel is $25, and
the price of gasoline is $3, calculate and interpret the income elasticity of gasoline demand and the crossprice elasticity of gasoline demand with respect to the price of bus travel.
Answer:
Inserting the prices of gasoline, bus travel, and automobiles into our demand equation, we get:
QD gas = 15 – 3(3) + 0.02(income in thousands) + 0.11(25) – 0.008(22)
and
QD gas = 8.6 + 0.02(income in thousands)
Our slope term on income is 0.02, and for an income of 40,000, QD gas = 9.4 gallons.
The formula for the income elasticity of demand is:
%ΔQ
%ΔI
=
ΔQ/Q
ΔI/I0
0
= ( Q0 ) × (
I
0
ΔQ
ΔI
)
Substituting our calculated values, we have:
( 9.4 ) × (0.02) = 0.085
40
This tells us that for these assumed values (at a single point on the demand curve), a 1% increase (decrease)
in income will lead to an increase (decrease) of 0.085% in the quantity of gasoline demanded.
In order to calculate the cross-price elasticity of demand for bus travel and gasoline, we construct a demand
function with only the price of bus travel as an independent variable:
QD gas = 15 – 3Pgas + 0.02I + 0.11PBT – 0.008Pauto
QD gas = 15 – 3(3) + 0.02(40) + 0.11PBT – 0.008(22)
QD gas = 6.6 + 0.11PBT
For a price of bus travel of $25, the quantity of gasoline demanded is:
QD gas = 6.6 + 0.11PBT
QD gas = 6.6 + 0.11(25) = 9.35 gallons
The cross-price elasticity of the demand for gasoline with respect to the price of bus travel is:
%ΔQ
%ΔPBT
=
ΔQ/Q
0
ΔP BT/P
0 BT
=(
P0 BT
Q0
) × ( ΔP
ΔQ
BT
)=
25
9.35
× 0.11 = 0.294
As noted, gasoline and bus travel are substitutes, so the cross-price elasticity of demand is positive. We can
interpret this value to mean that, for our assumed values, a 1% change in the price of bus travel will lead to
a 0.294% change in the quantity of gasoline demanded in the same direction, other things equal.
MODULE 12.2: DEMAND AND SUPPLY
LOS 12.b: Compare substitution and income effects.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 18
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When the price of Good X decreases, there is a substitution effect that
shifts consumption towards more of Good X. Because the total expenditure on the
consumer’s original bundle of goods falls when the price of Good X falls, there is also an
income effect. The income effect can be toward more or less consumption of Good X. This is
the key point here: the substitution effect always acts to increase the consumption of a good
that has fallen in price, while the income effect can either increase or decrease consumption
of a good that has fallen in price.
Based on this analysis, we can describe three possible outcomes of a decrease in the price of
Good X:
1. The substitution effect is positive, and the income effect is also positive—consumption
of Good X will increase.
2. The substitution effect is positive, and the income effect is negative but smaller than
the substitution effect—consumption of Good X will increase.
3. The substitution effect is positive, and the income effect is negative and larger than the
substitution effect—consumption of Good X will decrease.
LOS 12.c: Distinguish between normal goods and inferior goods.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 19
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
Candidates who are not already familiar with profit maximization based on a firm’s cost curves
(e.g., average cost and marginal cost) and firm revenue (e.g., average revenue, total revenue, and
marginal revenue) should study the material in the CFA curriculum prerequisite reading “Demand
and Supply Analysis: The Firm” prior to their study of the following material.
Earlier, we defined normal goods and inferior goods in terms of their income elasticity of
demand. A normal good is one for which the income effect is positive. An inferior good is
one for which the income effect is negative.
A specific good may be an inferior good for some ranges of income and a normal good for
other ranges of income. For a really poor person or population (e.g., underdeveloped
country), an increase in income may lead to greater consumption of noodles or rice. Now, if
incomes rise a bit (e.g., college student or developing country), more meat or seafood may
become part of the diet. Over this range of incomes, noodles can be an inferior good and
ground meat a normal good. If incomes rise to a higher range (e.g., graduated from college
and got a job), the consumption of ground meat may fall (inferior) in favor of preferred cuts
of meat (normal).
For many of us, commercial airline travel is a normal good. When our incomes rise, vacations
are more likely to involve airline travel, be more frequent, and extend over longer distances
so that airline travel is a normal good. For wealthy people (e.g., hedge fund manager), an
increase in income may lead to travel by private jet and a decrease in the quantity of
commercial airline travel demanded.
A Giffen good is an inferior good for which the negative income effect outweighs the
positive substitution effect when price falls. A Giffen good is theoretical and would have an
upward-sloping demand curve. At lower prices, a smaller quantity would be demanded as a
result of the dominance of the income effect over the substitution effect. Note that the
existence of a Giffen good is not ruled out by the axioms of the theory of consumer choice.
A Veblen good is one for which a higher price makes the good more desirable. The idea is
that the consumer gets utility from being seen to consume a good that has high status
(e.g., Gucci bag), and that a higher price for the good conveys more status and increases its
utility. Such a good could conceivably have a positively sloped demand curve for some
individuals over some range of prices. If such a good exists, there must be a limit to this
process, or the price would rise without limit. Note that the existence of a Veblen good does
violate the theory of consumer choice. If a Veblen good exists, it is not an inferior good, so
both the substitution and income effects of a price increase are to decrease consumption of
the good.
LOS 12.d: Describe the phenomenon of diminishing marginal returns.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 23
Factors of production are the resources a firm uses to generate output. Factors of production
include:
Land—where the business facilities are located.
Labor—includes all workers from unskilled laborers to top management.
Capital—sometimes called physical capital or plant and equipment to distinguish it
from financial capital. Refers to manufacturing facilities, equipment, and machinery.
Materials—refers to inputs into the productive process, including raw materials, such
as iron ore or water, or manufactured inputs, such as wire or microprocessors.
For economic analysis, we often consider only two inputs, capital and labor. The quantity of
output that a firm can produce can be thought of as a function of the amounts of capital and
labor employed. Such a function is called a production function.
If we consider a given amount of capital (a firm’s plant and equipment), we can examine the
increase in production (increase in total product) that will result as we increase the amount of
labor employed. The output with only one worker is considered the marginal product of the
first unit of labor. The addition of a second worker will increase total product by the marginal
product of the second worker. The marginal product of (additional output from) the second
worker is likely greater than the marginal product of the first. This is true if we assume that
two workers can produce more than twice as much output as one because of the benefits of
teamwork or specialization of tasks. At this low range of labor input (remember, we are
holding capital constant), we can say that the marginal product of labor is increasing.
As we continue to add additional workers to a fixed amount of capital, at some point, adding
one more worker will increase total product by less than the addition of the previous worker,
although total product continues to increase. When we reach the quantity of labor for which
the additional output for each additional worker begins to decline, we have reached the point
of diminishing marginal productivity of labor, or that labor has reached the point of
diminishing marginal returns. Beyond this quantity of labor, the additional output from
each additional worker continues to decline.
There is, theoretically, some quantity for labor for which the marginal product of labor is
actually negative (i.e., the addition of one more worker actually decreases total output).
In Figure 12.3, we illustrate all three cases. For quantities of labor between zero and A, the
marginal product of labor is increasing (slope is increasing). Beyond the inflection point in
the production at quantity of labor A up to quantity B, the marginal product of labor is still
positive but decreasing. The slope of the production function is positive but decreasing, and
we are in a range of diminishing marginal productivity of labor. Beyond the quantity of labor
B, adding additional workers decreases total output. The marginal product of labor in this
range is negative, and the production function slopes downward.
Figure 12.3: Production Function—Capital Fixed, Labor Variable
LOS 12.e: Determine and interpret breakeven and shutdown points of production.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 38
In economics, we define the short run for a firm as the time period over which some factors
of production are fixed. Typically, we assume that capital is fixed in the short run so that a
firm cannot change its scale of operations (plant and equipment) over the short run. All
factors of production (costs) are variable in the long run. The firm can let its leases expire
and sell its equipment, thereby avoiding costs that are fixed in the short run.
Shutdown and Breakeven Under Perfect Competition
As a simple example of shutdown and breakeven analysis, consider a retail store with a 1year lease (fixed cost) and one employee (quasi-fixed cost), so that variable costs are simply
the store’s cost of merchandise. If the total sales (total revenue) just covers both fixed and
variable costs, price equals both average revenue and average total cost, so we are at the
breakeven output quantity, and economic profit equals zero.
During the period of the lease (the short run), as long as items are being sold for more than
their variable cost, the store should continue to operate to minimize losses. If items are being
sold for less than their average variable cost, losses would be reduced by shutting down the
business in the short run.
In the long run, a firm should shut down if the price is less than average total cost, regardless
of the relation between price and average variable cost.
In the case of a firm under perfect competition, price = marginal revenue = average revenue,
as we have noted. For a firm under perfect competition (a price taker), we can use a graph of
cost functions to examine the profitability of the firm at different output prices. In
Figure 12.4, at price P1, price and average revenue equal average total cost. At the output
level of Point A, the firm is making an economic profit of zero. At a price above P1,
economic profit is positive, and at prices less than P1, economic profit is negative (the firm
has economic losses).
Figure 12.4: Shutdown and Breakeven
Because some costs are fixed in the short run, it will be better for the firm to continue
production in the short run as long as average revenue is greater than average variable costs.
At prices between P1 and P2 in Figure 12.4, the firm has losses, but the loss is less than the
losses that would occur if all production were stopped. As long as total revenue is greater
than total variable cost, at least some of the firm’s fixed costs are covered by continuing to
produce and sell its product. If the firm were to shut down, losses would be equal to the fixed
costs that still must be paid. As long as price is greater than average variable costs, the firm
will minimize its losses in the short run by continuing in business.
If average revenue is less average variable cost, the firm’s losses are greater than its fixed
costs, and it will minimize its losses by shutting down production in the short run. In this case
(a price less than P2 in Figure 12.4), the loss from continuing to operate is greater than the
loss (total fixed costs) if the firm is shut down.
In the long run, all costs are variable, so a firm can avoid its (short-run) fixed costs by
shutting down. For this reason, if price is expected to remain below minimum average total
cost (Point A in Figure 12.4) in the long run, the firm will shut down rather than continue to
generate losses.
To sum up, if average revenue is less than average variable cost in the short run, the firm
should shut down. This is its short-run shutdown point. If average revenue is greater than
average variable cost in the short run, the firm should continue to operate, even if it has
losses. In the long run, the firm should shut down if average revenue is less than average total
cost. This is the long-run shutdown point. If average revenue is just equal to average total
cost, total revenue is just equal to total (economic) cost, and this is the firm’s breakeven
point.
If AR ≥ ATC, the firm should stay in the market in both the short and long run.
If AR ≥ AVC, but AR < ATC, the firm should stay in the market in the short run but
will exit the market in the long run.
If AR < AVC, the firm should shut down in the short run and exit the market in the
long run.
Shutdown and Breakeven Under Imperfect Competition
For price-searcher firms (those that face downward-sloping demand curves), we could
compare average revenue to ATC and AVC, just as we did for price-taker firms, to identify
shutdown and breakeven points. However, marginal revenue is no longer equal to price.
We can, however, still identify the conditions under which a firm is breaking even, should
shut down in the short run, and should shut down in the long run in terms of total costs and
total revenue. These conditions are:
TR = TC: break even.
TC > TR > TVC: firm should continue to operate in the short run but shut down in the
long run.
TR < TVC: firm should shut down in the short run and the long run.
Because price does not equal marginal revenue for a firm in imperfect competition, analysis
based on total costs and revenues is better suited for examining breakeven and shutdown
points.
The previously described relations hold for both price-taker and price-searcher firms. We
illustrate these relations in Figure 12.5 for a price-taker firm (TR increases at a constant rate
with quantity). Total cost equals total revenue at the breakeven quantities QBE1 and QBE2.
The quantity for which economic profit is maximized is shown as Qmax.
Figure 12.5: Breakeven Point Using the Total Revenue/Total Cost Approach
If the entire TC curve exceeds TR (i.e., no breakeven point), the firm will want to minimize
the economic loss in the short run by operating at the quantity corresponding to the smallest
(negative) value of TR – TC.
EXAMPLE: Short-run shutdown decision
For the last fiscal year, Legion Gaming reported total revenue of $700,000, total variable costs of
$800,000, and total fixed costs of $400,000. Should the firm continue to operate in the short run?
Answer:
The firm should shut down. Total revenue of $700,000 is less than total costs of $1,200,000 and also less
than total variable costs of $800,000. By shutting down, the firm will lose an amount equal to fixed costs of
$400,000. This is less than the loss of operating, which is TR – TC = $500,000.
EXAMPLE: Long-run shutdown decision
Suppose instead that Legion reported total revenue of $850,000. Should the firm continue to operate in the
short run? Should it continue to operate in the long run?
Answer:
In the short run, TR > TVC, and the firm should continue operating. The firm should consider exiting the
market in the long run, as TR is not sufficient to cover all of the fixed costs and variable costs.
LOS 12.f: Describe how economies of scale and diseconomies of scale affect costs.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 43
While plant size is fixed in the short run, in the long run, firms can choose their most
profitable scale of operations. Because the long-run average total cost (LRATC) curve is
drawn for many different plant sizes or scales of operation, each point along the curve
represents the minimum ATC for a given plant size or scale of operations. In Figure 12.6, we
show a firm’s LRATC curve along with short-run average total cost (SRATC) curves for
many different plant sizes, with SRATCn+1 representing a larger scale of operations than
SRATCn.
Figure 12.6: Economies and Diseconomies of Scale
We draw the LRATC curve as U-shaped. Average total costs first decrease with larger scale
and eventually increase. The lowest point on the LRATC corresponds to the scale or plant
size at which the average total cost of production is at a minimum. This scale is sometimes
called the minimum efficient scale. Under perfect competition, firms must operate at
minimum efficient scale in long-run equilibrium, and LRATC will equal the market price.
Recall that under perfect competition, firms earn zero economic profit in long-run
equilibrium. Firms that have chosen a different scale of operations with higher average total
costs will have economic losses and must either leave the industry or change to minimum
efficient scale.
The downward-sloping segment of the long-run average total cost curve presented in
Figure 12.6 indicates that economies of scale (or increasing returns to scale) are present.
Economies of scale result from factors such as labor specialization, mass production, and
investment in more efficient equipment and technology. In addition, the firm may be able to
negotiate lower input prices with suppliers as firm size increases and more resources are
purchased. A firm operating with economies of scale can increase its competitiveness by
expanding production and reducing costs.
The upward-sloping segment of the LRATC curve indicates that diseconomies of scale are
present. Diseconomies of scale may result as the increasing bureaucracy of larger firms leads
to inefficiency, problems with motivating a larger workforce, and greater barriers to
innovation and entrepreneurial activity. A firm operating under diseconomies of scale will
want to decrease output and move back toward the minimum efficient scale. The U.S. auto
industry is an example of an industry that has exhibited diseconomies of scale.
There may be a relatively flat portion at the bottom of the LRATC curve that exhibits
constant returns to scale. Over a range of constant returns to scale, costs are constant for the
various plant sizes.
MODULE QUIZ 12.1, 12.2
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. Total revenue is greatest in the part of a demand curve that is:
A. elastic
B. inelastic
C. unit elastic.
2. A demand function for air conditioners is given by:
QDair conditioner = 10,000 – 2 Pair conditioner + 0.0004 income + 30 Pelectric fan – 4
Pelectricity
At current average prices, an air conditioner costs 5,000 yen, a fan costs 200 yen, and
electricity costs 1,000 yen. Average income is 4,000,000 yen. The income elasticity of
demand for air conditioners is closest to:
A. 0.0004.
B. 0.444.
C. 40,000.
3. When the price of a good decreases, and an individual’s consumption of that good also
decreases, it is most likely that:
A. the income effect and substitution effect are both negative.
B. the substitution effect is negative and the income effect is positive.
C. the income effect is negative and the substitution effect is positive.
4. A good is classified as an inferior good if its:
A. income elasticity is negative.
B. own-price elasticity is negative.
C. cross-price elasticity is negative.
5. Increasing the amount of one productive input while keeping the amounts of other inputs
constant results in diminishing marginal returns:
A. in all cases.
B. when it causes total output to decrease.
C. when the increase in total output becomes smaller.
6. A firm’s average revenue is greater than its average variable cost and less than its average
total cost. If this situation is expected to persist, the firm should:
A. shut down in the short run and in the long run.
B. shut down in the short run but operate in the long run.
C. operate in the short run but shut down in the long run.
7. If a firm’s long-run average total cost increases by 6% when output is increased by 6%, the
firm is experiencing:
A. economies of scale.
B. diseconomies of scale.
C. constant returns to scale.
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 12.a
Elasticity is measured as the ratio of the percentage change in one variable to a percentage
change in another. Three elasticities related to a demand function are of interest:
own-price elasticity =
cross-price elasticity
income elasticity =
=
% change in quantity demanded
% change in own price
% change in quantity demanded
% change in price of related good
% change in quantity demanded
% change in income
|own-price elasticity| > 1: demand is elastic
|own-price elasticity| < 1: demand is inelastic
cross-price elasticity > 0: related good is a substitute
cross-price elasticity < 0: related good is a complement
income elasticity < 0: good is an inferior good
income elasticity > 0: good is a normal good
LOS 12.b
When the price of a good decreases, the substitution effect leads a consumer to consume
more of that good and less of goods for which prices have remained the same.
A decrease in the price of a good that a consumer purchases leaves her with unspent income
(for the same combination of goods). The effect of this additional income on consumption of
the good for which the price has decreased is termed the income effect.
LOS 12.c
For a normal good, the income effect of a price decrease is positive—income elasticity of
demand is positive.
For an inferior good, the income effect of a price decrease is negative—income elasticity of
demand is negative. An increase in income reduces demand for an inferior good.
A Giffen good is an inferior good for which the negative income effect of a price decrease
outweighs the positive substitution effect, so that a decrease (increase) in the good’s price has
a net result of decreasing (increasing) the quantity consumed.
A Veblen good is also one for which an increase (decrease) in price results in an increase
(decrease) in the quantity consumed. However, a Veblen good is not an inferior good and is
not supported by the axioms of the theory of demand.
LOS 12.d
Marginal returns refer to the additional output that can be produced by using one more unit of
a productive input while holding the quantities of other inputs constant. Marginal returns may
increase as the first units of an input are added, but as input quantities increase, they reach a
point at which marginal returns begin to decrease. Inputs beyond this quantity are said to
produce diminishing marginal returns.
LOS 12.e
Under perfect competition:
The breakeven quantity of production is the quantity for which price (P) = average total
cost (ATC) and total revenue (TR) = total cost (TC).
The firm should shut down in the long run if P < ATC so that TR < TC.
The firm should shut down in the short run (and the long run) if P < average variable
cost (AVC) so that TR < total variable cost (TVC).
Under imperfect competition (firm faces downward sloping demand):
Breakeven quantity is the quantity for which TR = TC.
The firm should shut down in the long run if TR < TC.
The firm should shut down in the short run (and the long run) if TR < TVC.
LOS 12.f
The long-run average total cost (LRATC) curve shows the minimum average total cost for
each level of output assuming that the plant size (scale of the firm) can be adjusted. A
downward-sloping segment of an LRATC curve indicates economies of scale (increasing
returns to scale). Over such a segment, increasing the scale of the firm reduces ATC. An
upward-sloping segment of an LRATC curve indicates diseconomies of scale, where average
unit costs will rise as the scale of the business (and long-run output) increases.
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 12.1, 12.2
1. C Total revenue is maximized at the quantity at which own-price elasticity equals –1.
(Module 12.1, LOS 12.a)
2. B Substituting current values for the independent variables other than income, the
demand function becomes:
QDair conditioner
= 10,000 – 2(5,000) + 0.0004 income + 30(200) – 4(1,000)
= 0.0004 income + 2,000.
The slope of income is 0.0004, and for an income of 4,000,000 yen, QD = 3,600.
Income elasticity = I0 / Q0 × ∆Q / ∆I = 4,000,000 / 3,600 × 0.0004 = 0.444. (Module
12.1, LOS 12.a)
3. C The substitution effect of a price decrease is always positive, but the income effect
can be either positive or negative. Consumption of a good will decrease when the price
of that good decreases only if the income effect is both negative and greater than the
substitution effect. (Module 12.2, LOS 12.b)
4. A An inferior good is one that has a negative income elasticity of demand. (Module
12.2, LOS 12.c)
5. C Productive inputs exhibit diminishing marginal returns at the level where an
additional unit of input results in a smaller increase in output than the previous unit of
input. (Module 12.2, LOS 12.d)
6. C If a firm is generating sufficient revenue to cover its variable costs and part of its
fixed costs, it should continue to operate in the short run. If average revenue is likely to
remain below average total costs in the long run, the firm should shut down. (Module
12.2, LOS 12.e)
7. B Increasing long-run average total cost as a result of increasing output demonstrates
diseconomies of scale. (Module 12.2, LOS 12.f)
The following is a review of the Economics (1) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #13.
READING 13: THE FIRM AND MARKET
STRUCTURES
Study Session 4
EXAM FOCUS
This topic review covers four market structures: perfect competition, monopolistic
competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. You need to be able to compare and contrast these
structures in terms of numbers of firms, firm demand elasticity and pricing power, long-run
economic profits, barriers to entry, and the amount of product differentiation and advertising.
Finally, know the two quantitative concentration measures, their implications for market
structure and pricing power, and their limitations in this regard. We will apply all of these
concepts when we analyze industry competition and pricing power of companies in the Study
Session on equity investments.
MODULE 13.1: PERFECT COMPETITION
LOS 13.a: Describe characteristics of perfect competition, monopolistic
competition, oligopoly, and pure monopoly.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 64
In this topic review, we examine four types of market structure: perfect competition,
monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly. We can analyze where an industry falls
along this spectrum by examining the following five factors:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Number of firms and their relative sizes.
Degree to which firms differentiate their products.
Bargaining power of firms with respect to pricing.
Barriers to entry into or exit from the industry.
Degree to which firms compete on factors other than price.
At one end of the spectrum is perfect competition, in which many firms produce identical
products, and competition forces them all to sell at the market price. At the other extreme, we
have monopoly, where only one firm is producing the product. In between are monopolistic
competition (many sellers and differentiated products) and oligopoly (few firms that
compete in a variety of ways). Each market structure has its own characteristics and
implications for firm strategy, and we will examine each in turn.
Perfect competition refers to a market in which many firms produce identical products,
barriers to entry into the market are very low, and firms compete for sales only on the basis of
price. Firms face perfectly elastic (horizontal) demand curves at the price determined in the
market because no firm is large enough to affect the market price. The market for wheat in a
region is a good approximation of such a market. Overall market supply and demand
determine the price of wheat.
Monopolistic competition differs from perfect competition in that products are not identical.
Each firm differentiates its product(s) from those of other firms through some combination of
differences in product quality, product features, and marketing. The demand curve faced by
each firm is downward sloping; while demand is elastic, it is not perfectly elastic. Prices are
not identical because of perceived differences among competing products, and barriers to
entry are low. The market for toothpaste is a good example of monopolistic competition.
Firms differentiate their products through features and marketing with claims of more
attractiveness, whiter teeth, fresher breath, and even of actually cleaning your teeth and
preventing decay. If the price of your personal favorite increases, you are not likely to
immediately switch to another brand as under perfect competition. Some customers would
switch in response to a 10% increase in price and some would not. This is why firm demand
is downward sloping.
The most important characteristic of an oligopoly market is that there are only a few firms
competing. In such a market, each firm must consider the actions and responses of other firms
in setting price and business strategy. We say that such firms are interdependent. While
products are typically good substitutes for each other, they may be either quite similar or
differentiated through features, branding, marketing, and quality. Barriers to entry are high,
often because economies of scale in production or marketing lead to very large firms.
Demand can be more or less elastic than for firms in monopolistic competition. The
automobile market is dominated by a few very large firms and can be characterized as an
oligopoly. The product and pricing decisions of Toyota certainly affect those of Ford and vice
versa. Automobile makers compete based on price, but also through marketing, product
features, and quality, which is often signaled strongly through brand name. The oil industry
also has a few dominant firms but their products are very good substitutes for each other.
A monopoly market is characterized by a single seller of a product with no close substitutes.
This fact alone means that the firm faces a downward-sloping demand curve (the market
demand curve) and has the power to choose the price at which it sells its product. High
barriers to entry protect a monopoly producer from competition. One source of monopoly
power is the protection offered by copyrights and patents. Another possible source of
monopoly power is control over a resource specifically needed to produce the product. Most
frequently, monopoly power is supported by government. A natural monopoly refers to a
situation where the average cost of production is falling over the relevant range of consumer
demand. In this case, having two (or more) producers would result in a significantly higher
cost of production and be detrimental to consumers. Examples of natural monopolies include
the electric power and distribution business and other public utilities. When privately owned
companies are granted such monopoly power, the price they charge is often regulated by
government as well.
Sometimes market power is the result of network effects or synergies that make it very
difficult to compete with a company once it has reached a critical level of market penetration.
EBay gained such a large share of the online auction market that its information on buyers
and sellers and the number of buyers who visit eBay essentially precluded others from
establishing competing businesses. While it may have competition to some degree, its market
share is such that it has negatively sloped demand and a good deal of pricing power.
Sometimes we refer to such companies as having a moat around them that protects them from
competition. It is best to remember, however, that changes in technology and consumer tastes
can, and usually do, reduce market power over time. Polaroid had a monopoly on instant
photos for years, but the introduction of digital photography forced the firm into bankruptcy
in 2001.
The table in Figure 13.1 shows the key features of each market structure.
Figure 13.1: Characteristics of Market Structures
Perfect
Competition
Monopolistic
Competition
Oligopoly
Monopoly
Many firms
Many firms
Few firms
Single firm
Barriers to entry
Very low
Low
High
Very high
Nature of substitute
products
Very good
substitutes
Good substitutes
but differentiated
Very good
substitutes
or differentiated
No good
substitutes
Nature of competition
Price only
Price, marketing,
features
Price, marketing,
features
Advertising
None
Some
Some to significant
Significant
Number of sellers
Pricing power
LOS 13.b: Explain relationships between price, marginal revenue, marginal cost,
economic profit, and the elasticity of demand under each market structure.
LOS 13.d: Describe and determine the optimal price and output for firms under each
market structure.
LOS 13.e: Explain factors affecting long-run equilibrium under each market structure.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 64
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
We cover these LOS together and slightly out of curriculum order so that we can present the
complete analysis of each market structure to better help candidates understand the economics of
each type of market structure.
Producer firms in perfect competition have no influence over market price. Market supply
and demand determine price. As illustrated in Figure 13.2, the individual firm’s demand
schedule is perfectly elastic (horizontal).
Figure 13.2: Price-Taker Demand
In a perfectly competitive market, a firm will continue to expand production until marginal
revenue (MR) equals marginal cost (MC). Marginal revenue is the increase in total revenue
from selling one more unit of a good or service. For a price taker, marginal revenue is simply
the price because all additional units are assumed to be sold at the same (market) price. In
pure competition, a firm’s marginal revenue is equal to the market price, and a firm’s MR
curve, presented in Figure 13.3, is identical to its demand curve. A profit maximizing firm
will produce the quantity, Q*, when MC = MR.
Figure 13.3: Profit Maximizing Output For A Price Taker
All firms maximize (economic) profit by producing and selling the quantity for which
marginal revenue equals marginal cost. For a firm in a perfectly competitive market, this is
the same as producing and selling the quantity for which marginal cost equals (market) price.
Economic profit equals total revenues less the opportunity cost of production, which includes
the cost of a normal return to all factors of production, including invested capital.
Panel (a) of Figure 13.4 illustrates that in the short run, economic profit is maximized at the
quantity for which marginal revenue = marginal cost. As shown in Panel (b), profit
maximization also occurs when total revenue exceeds total cost by the maximum amount.
Figure 13.4: Short-Run Profit Maximization
An economic loss occurs on any units for which marginal revenue is less than marginal cost.
At any output above the quantity where MR = MC, the firm will be generating losses on its
marginal production and will maximize profits by reducing output to where MR = MC.
In a perfectly competitive market, firms will not earn economic profits for any significant
period of time. The assumption is that new firms (with average and marginal cost curves
identical to those of existing firms) will enter the industry to earn economic profits,
increasing market supply and eventually reducing market price so that it just equals firms’
average total cost (ATC). In equilibrium, each firm is producing the quantity for which P =
MR = MC = ATC, so that no firm earns economic profits and each firm is producing the
quantity for which ATC is a minimum (the quantity for which ATC = MC). This equilibrium
situation is illustrated in Figure 13.5.
Figure 13.5: Equilibrium in a Perfectly Competitive Market
Figure 13.6 illustrates that firms will experience economic losses when price is below
average total cost (P < ATC). In this case, the firm must decide whether to continue
operating. A firm will minimize its losses in the short run by continuing to operate when price
is less than ATC but greater than AVC. As long as the firm is covering its variable costs and
some of its fixed costs, its loss will be less than its fixed (in the short run) costs. If the firm is
only just covering its variable costs (P = AVC), the firm is operating at its shutdown point. If
the firm is not covering its variable costs (P < AVC) by continuing to operate, its losses will
be greater than its fixed costs. In this case, the firm will shut down (zero output) and lay off
its workers. This will limit its losses to its fixed costs (e.g., its building lease and debt
payments). If the firm does not believe price will ever exceed ATC in the future, going out of
business is the only way to eliminate fixed costs.
Figure 13.6: Short-Run Loss
The long-run equilibrium output level for perfectly competitive firms is where MR = MC =
ATC, which is where ATC is at a minimum. At this output, economic profit is zero and only
a normal return is realized.
Recall that price takers should produce where P = MC. Referring to Panel (a) in Figure 13.7,
a firm will shut down at a price below P1. Between P1 and P2, a firm will continue to operate
in the short run. At P2, the firm is earning a normal profit—economic profit equals zero. At
prices above P2, a firm is making economic profits and will expand its production along the
MC line. Thus, the short-run supply curve for a firm is its MC line above the average
variable cost curve, AVC. The supply curve shown in Panel (b) is the short-run market
supply curve, which is the horizontal sum (add up the quantities from all firms at each price)
of the MC curves for all firms in a given industry. Because firms will supply more units at
higher prices, the short-run market supply curve slopes upward to the right.
Figure 13.7: Short-Run Supply Curves
Changes in Demand, Entry and Exit, and Changes in Plant
Size
In the short run, an increase in market demand (a shift of the market demand curve to the
right) will increase both equilibrium price and quantity, while a decrease in market demand
will reduce both equilibrium price and quantity. The change in equilibrium price will change
the (horizontal) demand curve faced by each individual firm and the profit-maximizing
output of a firm. These effects for an increase in demand are illustrated in Figure 13.8. An
increase in market demand from D1 to D2 increases the short-run equilibrium price from P1
to P2 and equilibrium output from Q1 to Q2. In Panel (b) of Figure 13.8, we see the short-run
effect of the increased market price on the output of an individual firm. The higher price leads
to a greater profit-maximizing output, Q2 Firm. At the higher output level, a firm will earn an
economic profit in the short run. In the long run, some firms will increase their scale of
operations in response to the increase in demand, and new firms will likely enter the industry.
In response to a decrease in demand, the short-run equilibrium price and quantity will fall,
and in the long run, firms will decrease their scale of operations or exit the market.
Figure 13.8: Short-Run Adjustment to an Increase in Demand Under Perfect Competition
A firm’s long-run adjustment to a shift in industry demand and the resulting change in price
may be either to alter the size of its plant or leave the market entirely. The marketplace
abounds with examples of firms that have increased their plant sizes (or added additional
production facilities) to increase output in response to increasing market demand. Other
firms, such as Ford and GM, have decreased plant size to reduce economic losses. This
strategy is commonly referred to as downsizing.
If an industry is characterized by firms earning economic profits, new firms will enter the
market. This will cause industry supply to increase (the industry supply curve shifts
downward and to the right), increasing equilibrium output and decreasing equilibrium price.
Even though industry output increases, however, individual firms will produce less because
as price falls, each individual firm will move down its own supply curve. The end result is
that a firm’s total revenue and economic profit will decrease.
If firms in an industry are experiencing economic losses, some of these firms will exit the
market. This will decrease industry supply and increase equilibrium price. Each remaining
firm in the industry will move up its individual supply curve and increase production at the
higher market price. This will cause total revenues to increase, reducing any economic losses
the remaining firms had been experiencing.
A permanent change in demand leads to the entry of firms to, or exit of firms from, an
industry. Let’s consider the permanent increase in demand illustrated in Figure 13.9. The
initial long-run industry equilibrium condition shown in Panel (a) is at the intersection of
demand curve D0 and supply curve S0, at price P0 and quantity Q0. As indicated in Panel (b)
of Figure 13.9, at the market price of P0 each firm will produce q0. At this price and output,
each firm earns a normal profit, and economic profit is zero. That is, MC = MR = P, and ATC
is at its minimum. Now, suppose industry demand permanently increases such that the
industry demand curve in Panel (a) shifts to D1. The new market price will be P1 and industry
output will increase to Q1. At the new price P1, existing firms will produce q1 and realize an
economic profit because P1 > ATC. Positive economic profits will cause new firms to enter
the market. As these new firms increase total industry supply, the industry supply curve will
gradually shift to S1, and the market price will decline back to P0. At the market price of P0,
the industry will now produce Q2, with an increased number of firms in the industry, each
producing at the original quantity, q0. The individual firms will no longer enjoy an economic
profit because ATC = P0 at q0.
Figure 13.9: Effects of a Permanent Increase in Demand
MODULE QUIZ 13.1
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1. When a firm operates under conditions of pure competition, marginal revenue always
equals:
A. price.
B. average cost.
C. marginal cost.
2. In which market structure(s) can a firm’s supply function be described as its marginal cost
curve above its average variable cost curve?
A. Oligopoly or monopoly.
B. Perfect competition only.
C. Perfect competition or monopolistic competition.
3. In a purely competitive market, economic losses indicate that:
A. price is below average total costs.
B. collusion is occurring in the market place.
C. firms need to expand output to reduce costs.
4. A purely competitive firm will tend to expand its output so long as:
A. marginal revenue is positive.
B. marginal revenue is greater than price.
C. market price is greater than marginal cost.
5. A firm is likely to operate in the short run as long as price is at least as great as:
A. marginal cost.
B. average total cost.
C. average variable cost.
MODULE 13.2: MONOPOLISTIC COMPETITION
Monopolistic competition has the following market characteristics:
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A large number of independent sellers: (1) Each firm has a relatively
small market share, so no individual firm has any significant power
over price. (2) Firms need only pay attention to average market price, not the price of
individual competitors. (3) There are too many firms in the industry for collusion (price
fixing) to be possible.
Differentiated products: Each producer has a product that is slightly different from its
competitors (at least in the minds of consumers). The competing products are close
substitutes for one another.
Firms compete on price, quality, and marketing as a result of product differentiation.
Quality is a significant product-differentiating characteristic. Price and output can be
set by firms because they face downward-sloping demand curves, but there is usually a
strong correlation between quality and the price that firms can charge. Marketing is a
must to inform the market about a product’s differentiating characteristics.
Low barriers to entry so that firms are free to enter and exit the market. If firms in the
industry are earning economic profits, new firms can be expected to enter the industry.
Firms in monopolistic competition face downward-sloping demand curves (they are price
searchers). Their demand curves are highly elastic because competing products are perceived
by consumers as close substitutes. Think about the market for toothpaste. All toothpaste is
quite similar, but differentiation occurs due to taste preferences, influential advertising, and
the reputation of the seller.
The price/output decision for monopolistic competition is illustrated in Figure 13.10. Panel
(a) of Figure 13.10 illustrates the short-run price/output characteristics of monopolistic
competition for a single firm. As indicated, firms in monopolistic competition maximize
economic profits by producing where marginal revenue (MR) equals marginal cost (MC), and
by charging the price for that quantity from the demand curve, D. Here the firm earns positive
economic profits because price, P*, exceeds average total cost, ATC*. Due to low barriers to
entry, competitors will enter the market in pursuit of these economic profits.
Figure 13.10: Short-Run and Long-Run Output Under Monopolistic Competition
Panel (b) of Figure 13.10 illustrates long-run equilibrium for a representative firm after new
firms have entered the market. As indicated, the entry of new firms shifts the demand curve
faced by each individual firm down to the point where price equals average total cost (P* =
ATC*), such that economic profit is zero. At this point, there is no longer an incentive for
new firms to enter the market, and long-run equilibrium is established. The firm in
monopolistic competition continues to produce at the quantity where MR = MC but no longer
earns positive economic profits.
Figure 13.11 illustrates the differences between long-run equilibrium in markets with
monopolistic competition and markets with perfect competition. Note that with monopolistic
competition, price is greater than marginal cost (i.e., producers can realize a markup),
average total cost is not at a minimum for the quantity produced (suggesting excess capacity,
or an inefficient scale of production), and the price is slightly higher than under perfect
competition. The point to consider here, however, is that perfect competition is characterized
by no product differentiation. The question of the efficiency of monopolistic competition
becomes, “Is there an economically efficient amount of product differentiation?”
Figure 13.11: Firm Output Under Monopolistic and Perfect Competition
In a world with only one brand of toothpaste, clearly average production costs would be
lower. That fact alone probably does not mean that a world with only one brand/type of
toothpaste would be a better world. While product differentiation has costs, it also has
benefits to consumers.
Consumers definitely benefit from brand name promotion and advertising because they
receive information about the nature of a product. This often enables consumers to make
better purchasing decisions. Convincing consumers that a particular brand of deodorant will
actually increase their confidence in a business meeting or make them more attractive to the
opposite sex is not easy or inexpensive. Whether the perception of increased confidence or
attractiveness from using a particular product is worth the additional cost of advertising is a
question probably better left to consumers of the products. Some would argue that the
increased cost of advertising and sales is not justified by the benefits of these activities.
Product innovation is a necessary activity as firms in monopolistic competition pursue
economic profits. Firms that bring new and innovative products to the market are confronted
with less-elastic demand curves, enabling them to increase price and earn economic profits.
However, close substitutes and imitations will eventually erode the initial economic profit
from an innovative product. Thus, firms in monopolistic competition must continually look
for innovative product features that will make their products relatively more desirable to
some consumers than those of the competition.
Innovation does not come without costs. The costs of product innovation must be weighed
against the extra revenue that it produces. A firm is considered to be spending the optimal
amount on innovation when the marginal cost of (additional) innovation just equals the
marginal revenue (marginal benefit) of additional innovation.
Advertising expenses are high for firms in monopolistic competition. This is to inform
consumers about the unique features of their products and to create or increase a perception
of differences between products that are actually quite similar. We just note here that
advertising costs for firms in monopolistic competition are greater than those for firms in
perfect competition and those that are monopolies.
As you might expect, advertising costs increase the average total cost curve for a firm in
monopolistic competition. The increase to average total cost attributable to advertising
decreases as output increases, because more fixed advertising dollars are being averaged over
a larger quantity. In fact, if advertising leads to enough of an increase in output (sales), it can
actually decrease a firm’s average total cost.
Brand names provide information to consumers by providing them with signals about the
quality of the branded product. Many firms spend a significant portion of their advertising
budget on brand name promotion. Seeing the brand name BMW likely tells a consumer more
about the quality of a newly introduced automobile than an inspection of the vehicle itself
would reveal. At the same time, the reputation BMW has for high quality is so valuable that
the firm has an added incentive not to damage it by producing vehicles of low quality.
MODULE QUIZ 13.2
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1. The demand for products from monopolistic competitors is relatively elastic due to:
A. high barriers to entry.
B. the availability of many close substitutes.
C. the availability of many complementary goods.
2. Compared to a perfectly competitive industry, in an industry characterized by monopolistic
competition:
A. both price and quantity are likely to be lower.
B. price is likely to be higher and quantity is likely to be lower.
C. quantity is likely to be higher and price is likely to be lower.
3. A firm will most likely maximize profits at the quantity of output for which:
A. price equals marginal cost.
B. price equals marginal revenue.
C. marginal cost equals marginal revenue.
MODULE 13.3: OLIGOPOLY
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Compared to monopolistic competition, an oligopoly market has higher
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barriers to entry and fewer firms. The other key difference is that the firms
are interdependent, so a price change by one firm can be expected to be met
by a price change by its competitors. This means that the actions of another firm will directly
affect a given firm’s demand curve for the product. Given this complicating fact, models of
oligopoly pricing and profits must make a number of important assumptions. In the
following, we describe four of these models and their implications for price and quantity:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Kinked demand curve model.
Cournot duopoly model.
Nash equilibrium model (prisoner’s dilemma).
Stackelberg dominant firm model.
One traditional model of oligopoly, the kinked demand curve model, is based on the
assumption that an increase in a firm’s product price will not be followed by its competitors,
but a decrease in price will. According to the kinked demand curve model, each firm believes
that it faces a demand curve that is more elastic (flatter) above a given price (the kink in the
demand curve) than it is below the given price. The kinked demand curve model is illustrated
in Figure 13.12. The kink price is at price PK, where a firm produces QK. A firm believes that
if it raises its price above PK, its competitors will remain at PK, and it will lose market share
because it has the highest price. Above PK, the demand curve is considered to be relatively
elastic, where a small price increase will result in a large decrease in demand. On the other
hand, if a firm decreases its price below PK, other firms will match the price cut, and all firms
will experience a relatively small increase in sales relative to any price reduction. Therefore,
Q K is the profit-maximizing level of output.
Figure 13.12: Kinked Demand Curve Model
It is worth noting that with a kink in the market demand curve, we also get a gap in the
associated marginal revenue curve, as shown in Figure 13.13. For any firm with a marginal
cost curve passing through this gap, the price at which the kink is located is the firm’s profit
maximizing price.
Figure 13.13: Gap in Marginal Revenue Curve
A shortcoming of the kinked demand curve model of oligopoly is that in spite of its intuitive
appeal, it is incomplete because what determines the market price (where the kink is located)
is outside the scope of the model.
Another model of oligopoly pricing and output is the Cournot model, named after the
economist who developed it in the early 19th century. The model considers an oligopoly with
only two firms competing (i.e., a duopoly), and both have identical and constant marginal
costs of production. Each firm knows the quantity supplied by the other firm in the previous
period and assumes that is what it will supply in the next period. By subtracting this quantity
from the (linear) market demand curve, the firm can construct a demand curve and marginal
revenue curve for its own production and determine the profit maximizing quantity (given
constant competitor sales).
Firms determine their quantities simultaneously each period and, under the assumptions of
the Cournot model, these quantities will change each period until they are equal. When each
firm selects the same quantity, there is no longer any additional profit to be gained by
changing quantity, and we have a stable equilibrium. The resulting market price is less than
the profit maximizing price that a monopolist would charge, but higher than marginal cost,
the price that would result from perfect competition. Additional analysis shows that as more
firms are added to the model, the equilibrium market price falls towards marginal cost, which
is the equilibrium price in the limit as the number of firms gets large.
Cournot’s model was an early version of what are called strategic games, decision models in
which the best choice for a firm depends on the actions (reactions) of other firms. A more
general model of this strategic game was developed by Nobel Prize winner John Nash, who
developed the concept of a Nash equilibrium. A Nash equilibrium is reached when the
choices of all firms are such that there is no other choice that makes any firm better off
(increases profits or decreases losses).
One such game is called the prisoner’s dilemma. Two prisoners, A and B, are believed to
have committed a serious crime. However, the prosecutor does not feel that the police have
sufficient evidence for a conviction. The prisoners are separated and offered the following
deal:
If Prisoner A confesses and Prisoner B remains silent, Prisoner A goes free and
Prisoner B receives a 10-year prison sentence.
If Prisoner B confesses and Prisoner A remains silent, Prisoner B goes free and
Prisoner A receives a 10-year prison sentence.
If both prisoners remain silent, each will receive a 6-month sentence.
If both prisoners confess, each will receive a 2-year sentence.
Each prisoner must choose either to betray the other by confessing or to remain silent.
Neither prisoner, however, knows for sure what the other prisoner will choose to do. The
result for each of these four possible outcomes is presented in Figure 13.14.
Figure 13.14: Prisoner’s Dilemma
Prisoner B is silent
Prisoner B confesses
Prisoner A is silent
A gets 6 months
B gets 6 months
A gets 10 years
B goes free
Prisoner A confesses
A goes free
B gets 10 years
A gets 2 years
B gets 2 years
The Nash equilibrium is for both prisoners to confess, and for each to get a sentence of two
years, although clearly the best overall outcome would be for both to remain silent and get
sentences of six months. However, that is not a Nash equilibrium since either prisoner can
improve his situation from silent/silent by confessing, because silent/confess and
confess/silent are preferred by each in turn. Neither of these outcomes is a Nash equilibrium
because the silent prisoner in both cases can improve his situation by confessing rather than
remaining silent. Confess/confess is the Nash equilibrium since neither prisoner can
unilaterally reduce his sentence by changing to silence. Another way to view this outcome is
that no matter what the other prisoner chooses to do, the best sentence for a prisoner comes
from confessing.
We can design a similar two-firm oligopoly game where the equilibrium outcome is for both
firms to cheat on a collusion agreement by charging a low price, even though the best overall
outcome is for both to honor the agreement and charge a high price. As illustrated in
Figure 13.15, the Nash equilibrium is for both firms to cheat on the agreement.
Figure 13.15: Prisoner’s Dilemma Type Game for Two Firms
Firm B Honors
Firm B Cheats
Firm A Honors
A earns economic profit
B earns economic profit
A has an economic loss
B earns increased economic profit
Firm A Cheats
A earns increased economic profit
B has an economic loss
A earns zero economic profit
B earns zero economic profit
An example of such a two-firm oligopoly game is illustrated in Figure 13.16. Each firm may
charge either a high price or a low price, and the profits to each firm are as shown. Assume
the firms have agreed to both charge a high price. The Nash equilibrium is for Firm A and
Firm B to charge a low price. This is the only combination from which neither firm can
unilaterally change its action to improve its profits. Total profits are greater if both honor the
agreement, but either Firm A or Firm B can improve profits from 150 to 200 by cheating on
the agreement. However, the non-cheating firm can then increase profits from 50 to 100 by
cheating:
Figure 13.16: Nash Equilibrium
Again, this is not the best joint outcome because joint profits are maximized if both honor the
agreement. This is what lies behind collusive agreements by or among firms. If firms can
enter into and enforce an agreement to restrict output and charge higher prices, and share the
resulting profits, they are better off. There are, however, laws (anti-trust laws) against such
collusive agreements to restrain competition to protect the interests of consumers. The OPEC
oil cartel is an example of such a collusive agreement, but evidence is common that cartel
members regularly cheat on their agreements to share the optimal output of oil.
In general, collusive agreements to increase price in an oligopoly market will be more
successful (have less cheating) when:
There are fewer firms.
Products are more similar (less differentiated).
Cost structures are more similar.
Purchases are relatively small and frequent.
Retaliation by other firms for cheating is more certain and more severe.
There is less actual or potential competition from firms outside the cartel.
A final model of oligopoly behavior to consider is the dominant firm model. In this model,
there is a single firm that has a significantly large market share because of its greater scale
and lower cost structure—the dominant firm (DF). In such a model, the market price is
essentially determined by the dominant firm, and the other competitive firms (CF) take this
market price as given.
The dominant firm believes that the quantity supplied by the other firms decreases at lower
prices, so that the dominant firm’s demand curve is related to the market demand curve as
shown in Figure 13.17. Based on this demand curve (DDF) and its associated marginal
revenue (MRDF) curve, the firm will maximize profits at a price of P*. The competitive firms
maximize profits by producing the quantity for which their marginal cost (MCCF) equals P*,
quantity QCF .
Figure 13.17: Dominant Firm Oligopoly
A price decrease by one of the competitive firms, which increases QCF in the short run, will
lead to a decrease in price by the dominant firm, and competitive firms will decrease output
and/or exit the industry in the long run. The long-run result of such a price decrease by
competitors below P* would then be to decrease the overall market share of competitor firms
and increase the market share of the dominant firm.
Clearly, there are many possible outcomes in oligopoly markets that depend on the
characteristics of the firms and the market itself. The important point is that the firms’
decisions are interdependent so that the expected reaction of other firms is an important
consideration. Overall, the resulting price will be somewhere between the price based on
perfect collusion that would maximize total profits to all firms in the market (actually the
monopoly price, which is addressed next) and the price that would result from perfect
competition and generate zero economic profits in the long run. These two limiting outcomes
are illustrated in Figure 13.18 as Pcollusion with Qcollusion for perfect collusion and Pcompetition
and Qcompetition for perfect competition.
Figure 13.18: Collusion vs. Perfect Competition
MODULE QUIZ 13.3
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1. An oligopolistic industry has:
A. few barriers to entry.
B. few economies of scale.
C. a great deal of interdependence among firms.
2. Consider a firm in an oligopoly market that believes the demand curve for its product is more
elastic above a certain price than below this price. This belief fits most closely to which of the
following models?
A. Cournot model.
B. Dominant firm model.
C. Kinked demand model.
3. Consider an agreement between France and Germany that will restrict wine production so
that maximum economic profit can be realized. The possible outcomes of the agreement are
presented in the table below.
France complies
France defaults
Germany complies
France gets €8 billion
Germany gets €8 billion
France gets €10 billion
Germany gets €2 billion
Germany defaults
France gets €2 billion
Germany gets €10 billion
France gets €4 billion
Germany gets €4 billion
Based on the concept of a Nash equilibrium, the most likely strategy followed by the two
countries with respect to whether they comply with or default on the agreement will be:
A. both countries will default.
B. both countries will comply.
C. one country will default and the other will comply.
MODULE 13.4: MONOPOLY AND
CONCENTRATION
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A monopoly faces a downward-sloping demand curve for its product, so
profit maximization involves a trade-off between price and quantity sold if
the firm sells at the same price to all buyers. Assuming a single selling price,
a monopoly firm must lower its price in order to sell a greater quantity. Unlike a firm in
perfect competition, a firm facing a downward-sloping demand curve must determine what
price to charge, hoping to find the price and output combination that will bring the maximum
profit to the firm.
Two pricing strategies that are possible for a monopoly firm are single-price and price
discrimination. If the monopoly’s customers cannot resell the product to each other, the
monopoly can maximize profits by charging different prices to different groups of customers.
When price discrimination isn’t possible, the monopoly will charge a single price. Price
discrimination is described in more detail after we address single-price profit maximization.
To maximize profit, monopolists will expand output until marginal revenue (MR) equals
marginal cost (MC). Due to high entry barriers, monopolist profits do not attract new market
entrants. Therefore, long-run positive economic profits can exist. Do monopolists charge the
highest possible price? The answer is no, because monopolists want to maximize profits, not
price.
One way to calculate marginal revenue for a firm that faces a downward-sloping demand
curve and sells all units for the same price is MR = P (1 − E1 ), where MR is marginal
P
revenue, P is the current price, and Ep is the absolute value of the price elasticity of demand
at price = P. Therefore, we can also express the single-price profit-maximizing output as that
output for which MC = P (1 − E1 ).
P
Figure 13.19 shows the revenue-cost structure facing the monopolist. Note that production
will expand until MR = MC at optimal output Q*. To find the price at which it will sell Q*
units, you must go to the demand curve. The demand curve itself does not determine the
optimal behavior of the monopolist. Just like the perfect competition model, the profit
maximizing output for a monopolist is where MR = MC. To ensure a profit, the demand
curve must lie above the firm’s average total cost (ATC) curve at the optimal quantity so that
price > ATC. The optimal quantity will be in the elastic range of the demand curve.
Figure 13.19: Monopoly Short-Run Costs and Revenues
Once again, the profit maximizing output for a monopolistic firm is the one for which MR =
MC. As shown in Figure 13.19, the profit maximizing output is Q*, with a price of P*, and an
economic profit equal to (P* – ATC*) × Q*.
Monopolists are price searchers and have imperfect information regarding market demand.
They must experiment with different prices to find the one that maximizes profit.
Price discrimination is the practice of charging different consumers different prices for the
same product or service. Examples are different prices for airline tickets based on whether a
Saturday-night stay is involved (separates business travelers and leisure travelers) and
different prices for movie tickets based on age.
The motivation for a monopolist is to capture more consumer surplus as economic profit than
is possible by charging a single price.
For price discrimination to work, the seller must:
Face a downward-sloping demand curve.
Have at least two identifiable groups of customers with different price elasticities of
demand for the product.
Be able to prevent the customers paying the lower price from reselling the product to
the customers paying the higher price.
As long as these conditions are met, firm profits can be increased through price
discrimination.
Figure 13.20 illustrates how price discrimination can increase the total quantity supplied and
increase economic profits compared to a single-price pricing strategy. For simplicity, we have
assumed no fixed costs and constant variable costs so that MC = ATC. In Panel (a), the single
profit-maximizing price is $100 at a quantity of 80 (where MC = MR), which generates a
profit of $2,400. In Panel (b), the firm is able to separate consumers, charges one group $110
and sells them 50 units, and sells an additional 60 units to another group (with more elastic
demand) at a price of $90. Total profit is increased to $3,200, and total output is increased
from 80 units to 110 units.
Compared to the quantity produced under perfect competition, the quantity produced by a
monopolist reduces the sum of consumer and producer surplus by an amount represented by
the triangle labeled deadweight loss (DWL) in Panel (a) of Figure 13.20. Consumer surplus is
reduced not only by the decrease in quantity but also by the increase in price relative to
perfect competition. Monopoly is considered inefficient because the reduction in output
compared to perfect competition reduces the sum of consumer and producer surplus. Because
marginal benefit is greater than marginal cost, less than the efficient quantity of resources are
allocated to the production of the good. Price discrimination reduces this inefficiency by
increasing output toward the quantity where marginal benefit equals marginal cost. Note that
the deadweight loss is smaller in Panel (b). The firm gains from those customers with
inelastic demand while still providing goods to customers with more elastic demand. This
may even cause production to take place when it would not otherwise.
Figure 13.20: Effect of Price Discrimination on Output and Operating Profit
An extreme (and largely theoretical) case of price discrimination is perfect price
discrimination. If it were possible for the monopolist to charge each consumer the maximum
they are willing to pay for each unit, there would be no deadweight loss because a monopolist
would produce the same quantity as under perfect competition. With perfect price
discrimination, there would be no consumer surplus. It would all be captured by the
monopolist.
Figure 13.21 illustrates the difference in allocative efficiency between monopoly and perfect
competition. Under perfect competition, the industry supply curve, S, is the sum of the supply
curves of the many competing firms in the industry. The perfect competition equilibrium
price and quantity are at the intersection of the industry supply curve and the market demand
curve, D. The quantity produced is QPC at an equilibrium price PPC. Because each firm is
small relative to the industry, there is nothing to be gained by attempting to decrease output in
an effort to increase price.
A monopolist facing the same demand curve, and with the same marginal cost curve, MC,
will maximize profit by producing QMON (where MC = MR) and charging a price of PMON.
The important thing to note here is that when compared to a perfectly competitive industry,
the monopoly firm will produce less total output and charge a higher price.
Recall from our review of perfect competition that the efficient quantity is the one for which
the sum of consumer surplus and producer surplus is maximized. In Figure 13.21, this
quantity is where S = D, or equivalently, where marginal cost (MC) = marginal benefit (MB).
Monopoly creates a deadweight loss relative to perfect competition because monopolies
produce a quantity that does not maximize the sum of consumer surplus and producer surplus.
A further loss of efficiency results from rent seeking when producers spend time and
resources to try to acquire or establish a monopoly.
Figure 13.21: Perfect Competition vs. Monopoly
Natural Monopoly
In some industries, the economics of production lead to a single firm supplying the entire
market demand for the product. When there are large economies of scale, it means that the
average cost of production decreases as a single firm produces greater and greater output. An
example is an electric utility. The fixed costs of producing electricity and building the power
lines and related equipment to deliver it to homes are quite high. The marginal cost of
providing electricity to an additional home or of providing more electricity to a home is,
however, quite low. The more electricity provided, the lower the average cost per kilowatt
hour. When the average cost of production for a single firm is falling throughout the relevant
range of consumer demand, we say that the industry is a natural monopoly. The entry of
another firm into the industry would divide the production between two firms and result in a
higher average cost of production than for a single producer. Thus, large economies of scale
in an industry present significant barriers to entry.
We illustrate the case of a natural monopoly in Figure 13.22. Left unregulated, a single-price
monopolist will maximize profits by producing where MR = MC, producing quantity QU and
charging PU. Given the economies of scale, having another firm in the market would increase
the ATC significantly. Note in Figure 13.22 that if two firms each produced approximately
one-half of output QAC, average cost for each firm would be much higher than for a single
producer producing QAC. Thus, there is a potential gain from monopoly because of lower
average cost production when LRAC is decreasing so that economies of scale lead to a single
supplier.
Figure 13.22: Natural Monopoly—Average Cost and Marginal Cost Pricing
Regulators often attempt to increase competition and efficiency through efforts to reduce
artificial barriers to trade, such as licensing requirements, quotas, and tariffs.
Because monopolists produce less than the optimal quantity (do not achieve efficient resource
allocation), government regulation may be aimed at improving resource allocation by
regulating the prices monopolies may charge. This may be done through average cost pricing
or marginal cost pricing.
Average cost pricing is the most common form of regulation. This would result in a price of
PAC and an output of QAC as illustrated in Figure 13.22. It forces monopolists to reduce price
to where the firm’s ATC intersects the market demand curve. This will:
Increase output and decrease price.
Increase social welfare (allocative efficiency).
Ensure the monopolist a normal profit because price = ATC.
Marginal cost pricing, which is also referred to as efficient regulation, forces the monopolist
to reduce price to the point where the firm’s MC curve intersects the market demand curve.
This increases output and reduces price, but causes the monopolist to incur a loss because
price is below ATC, as illustrated in Figure 13.22. Such a solution requires a government
subsidy in order to provide the firm with a normal profit and prevent it from leaving the
market entirely.
Another way of regulating a monopoly is for the government to sell the monopoly right to the
highest bidder. The right to build a gasoline station and food court on a tollway is one
example. In theory, the winning bidder will be an efficient supplier that bids an amount equal
to the value of expected economic profit and sets prices equal to long-run average cost.
LOS 13.c: Describe a firm’s supply function under each market structure.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 64
The short-run supply function for a firm under perfect competition is its marginal cost curve
above its average variable cost curve, as described earlier. The short-run market supply curve
is constructed simply by summing the quantities supplied at each price across all firms in the
market.
In markets characterized as monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly, there is no
well-defined supply function. This is because under all three of these market structures, firms
face downward-sloping demand curves. In each case, the quantity supplied is determined by
the intersection of marginal cost and marginal revenue, and the price charged is then
determined by the demand curve the firm faces. We cannot construct a function of quantity
supplied as a function of price as we can under perfect competition, where price equals
marginal revenue. The quantity supplied depends not only on a firm’s marginal cost, but on
demand and marginal revenue (which change with quantity) as well.
LOS 13.f: Describe pricing strategy under each market structure.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 64
We have covered each market structure separately in detail, so we will simply summarize
optimal pricing strategies.
Perfect competition: Profits are maximized by producing the quantity for which marginal
cost equals marginal revenue. Note that marginal revenue and price are equal so price also
equals marginal cost at the profit-maximizing quantity.
Monopoly: Profits are also maximized by producing the quantity for which marginal revenue
equals marginal cost. Because the firm’s demand curve is downward sloping, price is greater
than marginal revenue and greater than marginal cost.
Monopolistic competition: Profits are maximized when a firm produces the quantity for
which marginal revenue equals marginal cost. Similar to a monopoly structure, the firm faces
a downward sloping demand curve and price will be greater than marginal cost and marginal
revenue.
Oligopoly: Because one of the key characteristics of oligopoly is the interdependence of
firms’ pricing and output decisions, the optimal pricing strategy depends on our assumptions
about the reactions of other firms to each firm’s actions. Here we note different possible
assumptions and the strategy that is implied by each.
1. Kinked demand curve: This assumes competitors will match a price decrease but not a
price increase. Firms produce the quantity for which marginal revenue equals marginal
cost. However, the marginal revenue curve is discontinuous (there’s a gap in it), so for
many cost structures the optimal quantity is the same, given they face the same kinked
demand curve.
2. Collusion: If all producers agree to share the market to maximize total industry profits,
they will produce a total quantity for which marginal cost equals marginal revenue and
charge the price from the industry demand curve at which that quantity can be sold.
This is the same overall price and quantity as for a profit maximizing monopoly firm,
but the oligopoly firms must agree to share this total output among themselves and
share the economic profits as a result.
3. Dominant firm model: In this case, we assume one firm has the lowest cost structure
and a large market share as a result. The dominant firm will maximize profits by
producing the quantity for which its marginal cost equals its marginal revenue and
charge the price on its firm demand curve for that quantity. Other firms in the market
will essentially take that price as given and produce the quantity for which their
marginal cost equals that price.
4. Game theory: Because of the interdependence of oligopoly firms’ decisions,
assumptions about how a competitor will react to a particular price and output decision
by a competitor can determine the optimal output and pricing strategy. Given the
variety of models and assumptions about competitor reactions, the long-run outcome is
indeterminate. We can only say that the price will be between the monopoly price (if
firms successfully collude) and the perfect competition price which equals marginal
cost (if potential competition rules out prices above that level).
LOS 13.g: Describe the use and limitations of concentration measures in identifying
market structure.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 103
When examining the pricing power of firms in an industry, we would like to be able to
measure elasticity of demand directly, but that is very difficult. Regulators often use
percentage of market sales (market share) to measure the degree of monopoly or market
power of a firm. Often, mergers or acquisitions of companies in the same industry or market
are not permitted by government authorities when they determine the market share of the
combined firms will be too high and, therefore, detrimental to the economy.
Rather than estimate elasticity of demand, concentration measures for a market or industry
are very often used as an indicator of market power. One concentration measure is the N-firm
concentration ratio, which is calculated as the sum or the percentage market shares of the
largest N firms in a market. While this measure is simple to calculate and understand, it does
not directly measure market power or elasticity of demand.
One limitation of the N-firm concentration ratio is that it may be relatively insensitive to
mergers of two firms with large market shares. This problem is reduced by using an
alternative measure of market concentration, the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index (HHI). The
HHI is calculated as the sum of the squares of the market shares of the largest firms in the
market. The following example illustrates this difference between the two measures and their
calculation.
EXAMPLE: 4-firm concentration ratios
Given the market shares of the following firms, calculate the 4-firm concentration ratio and the 4-firm HHI,
both before and after a merger of Acme and Blake.
Firm
Sales/Total Market Sales
Acme
25%
Blake
15%
Curtis
15%
Dent
10%
Erie
5%
Federal
5%
Answer:
Prior to the merger, the 4-firm concentration ratio for the market is 25 + 15 + 15 + 10 = 65%. After the
merger, the Acme + Blake firm has 40% of the market, and the 4-firm concentration ratio is 40 + 15 + 10 +
5 = 70%. Although the 4-firm concentration ratio has only increased slightly, the market power of the
largest firm in the industry has increased significantly from 25% to 40%.
Prior to the merger, the 4-firm HHI is 0.252 + 0.152 + 0.152 + 0.102 = 0.1175.
After the merger, the 4-firm HHI is 0.402 + 0.152 + 0.102 + 0.052 = 0.1950, a significant increase.
A second limitation that applies to both of our simple concentration measures is that barriers
to entry are not considered in either case. Even a firm with high market share may not have
much pricing power if barriers to entry are low and there is potential competition. With low
barriers to entry, it may be the case that other firms stand ready to enter the market if firms
currently in the market attempt to increase prices significantly. In this case, the elasticity of
demand for existing firms may be high even though they have relatively high market shares
and industry concentration measures.
LOS 13.h: Identify the type of market structure within which a firm operates.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 103
The identification of the type of market structure within which a firm is operating is based on
the characteristics we outlined earlier. Our earlier table is repeated here in Figure 13.23.
Because the analyst is attempting to determine the degree of pricing power firms in the
industry have, the focus is on number of firms in the industry, the importance of barriers to
entry, the nature of substitute products, and the nature of industry competition. Significant
interdependence among firm pricing and output decisions is always a characteristic of an
oligopoly market, although some interdependence is present under monopolistic competition,
even with many more firms than for an oligopoly structure.
The following table illustrates the differences in characteristics among the various market
structures.
Figure 13.23: Characteristics of Market Structures
Perfect
Competition
Monopolistic
Competition
Oligopoly
Monopoly
Many firms
Many firms
Few firms
Single firm
Barriers to entry
Very low
Low
High
Very high
Nature of substitute
products
Very good
substitutes
Good substitutes
but differentiated
Very good
substitutes
or differentiated
No good
substitutes
Nature of competition
Price only
Price, marketing,
features
Price, marketing,
features
Advertising
None
Some
Some to significant
Significant
Number of sellers
Pricing power
MODULE QUIZ 13.4
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. Which of the following statements most accurately describes a significant difference
between a monopoly firm and a perfectly competitive firm? A perfectly competitive firm:
A. minimizes costs; a monopolistic firm maximizes profit.
B. maximizes profit; a monopolistic firm maximizes price.
C. takes price as given; a monopolistic firm must search for the best price.
2. A monopolist will expand production until MR = MC and charge a price determined by:
A. the demand curve.
B. the marginal cost curve.
C. the average total cost curve.
3. When a regulatory agency requires a monopolist to use average cost pricing, the intent is to
price the product where:
A. the ATC curve intersects the MR curve.
B. the MR curve intersects the demand curve.
C. the ATC curve intersects the demand curve.
4. Which of the following is most likely an advantage of the Herfindahl-Hirschman Index relative
to the N-firm concentration ratio? The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index:
A. is simpler to calculate.
B. considers barriers to entry.
C. is more sensitive to mergers.
5. A market characterized by low barriers to entry, good substitutes, limited pricing power, and
marketing of product features is best characterized as:
A. oligopoly.
B. perfect competition.
C. monopolistic competition.
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 13.a
Perfect competition is characterized by:
Many firms, each small relative to the market.
Very low barriers to entry into or exit from the industry.
Homogeneous products that are perfect substitutes, no advertising or branding.
No pricing power.
Monopolistic competition is characterized by:
Many firms.
Low barriers to entry into or exit from the industry.
Differentiated products, heavy advertising and marketing expenditure.
Some pricing power.
Oligopoly markets are characterized by:
Few sellers.
High barriers to entry into or exit from the industry.
Products that may be homogeneous or differentiated by branding and advertising.
Firms that may have significant pricing power.
Monopoly is characterized by:
A single firm that comprises the whole market.
Very high barriers to entry into or exit from the industry.
Advertising used to compete with substitute products.
Significant pricing power.
LOS 13.b
Perfect competition:
Price = marginal revenue = marginal cost (in equilibrium).
Perfectly elastic demand, zero economic profit in equilibrium.
Monopolistic competition:
Price > marginal revenue = marginal cost (in equilibrium).
Zero economic profit in long-run equilibrium.
Oligopoly:
Price > marginal revenue = marginal cost (in equilibrium).
May have positive economic profit in long-run equilibrium, but moves toward zero
economic profit over time.
Monopoly:
Price > marginal revenue = marginal cost (in equilibrium).
May have positive economic profit in long-run equilibrium, profits may be zero
because of expenditures to preserve monopoly.
LOS 13.c
Under perfect competition, a firm’s short-run supply curve is the portion of the firm’s shortrun marginal cost curve above average variable cost. A firm’s long-run supply curve is the
portion of the firm’s long-run marginal cost curve above average total cost.
Firms operating under monopolistic competition, oligopoly, and monopoly do not have welldefined supply functions, so neither marginal cost curves nor average cost curves are supply
curves in these cases.
LOS 13.d
All firms maximize profits by producing the quantity of output for which marginal cost
equals marginal revenue. Under perfect competition (perfectly elastic demand), marginal
revenue also equals price.
Firms in monopolistic competition or that operate in oligopoly or monopoly markets all face
downward-sloping demand curves. Selling price is determined from the price on the demand
curve for the profit maximizing quantity of output.
LOS 13.e
An increase (decrease) in demand will increase (decrease) economic profits in the short run
under all market structures. Positive economic profits result in entry of firms into the industry
unless barriers to entry are high. Negative economic profits result in exit of firms from the
industry unless barriers to exit are high. When firms enter (exit) an industry, market supply
increases (decreases), resulting in a decrease (increase) in market price and an increase
(decrease) in the equilibrium quantity traded in the market.
LOS 13.f
Whether a firm operates in perfect competition, monopolistic competition, or is a monopoly,
profits are maximized by producing and selling the quantity for which marginal revenue
equals marginal cost. Under perfect competition, price equals marginal revenue. Under
monopolistic competition or monopoly, firms face downward-sloping demand curves so that
marginal revenue is less than price, and the price charged at the profit-maximizing quantity is
the price from the firm’s demand curve at the optimal (profit-maximizing) level of output.
Under oligopoly, the pricing strategy is not clear. Because firm decisions are interdependent,
the optimal pricing and output strategy depends on the assumptions made about other firms’
cost structures and about competitors’ responses to a firm’s price changes.
LOS 13.g
A concentration ratio for N firms is calculated as the percentage of market sales accounted for
by the N largest firms in the industry and is used as a simple measure of market structure and
market power.
The Herfindahl-Hirschman Index measure of concentration is calculated as the sum of the
squared market shares of the largest N firms in an industry and better reflects the effect of
mergers on industry concentration.
Neither measure actually measures market power directly. Both can be misleading measures
of market power when potential competition restricts pricing power.
LOS 13.h
To identify the market structure in which a firm is operating, we need to examine the number
of firms in its industry, whether products are differentiated or other types of non-price
competition exist, and barriers to entry, and compare these to the characteristics that define
each market structure.
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 13.1
1. A When a firm operates under conditions of pure competition, MR always equals
price. This is because, in pure competition, demand is perfectly elastic (a horizontal
line), so MR is constant and equal to price. (LOS 13.a)
2. B The supply function is not well-defined in markets other than those that can be
characterized as perfect competition. (LOS 13.c)
3. A In a purely competitive market, economic losses indicate that firms are
overproducing, causing prices to fall below average total costs. This can occur in the
short run. In the long run, however, market supply will decrease as firms exit the
industry, and prices will rise to the point where economic profits are zero. (LOS 13.b)
4. C A purely competitive firm will tend to expand its output so long as the market price
is greater than MC. In the short run and long run, profit is maximized when P = MC.
(LOS 13.d)
5. C If price is greater than average variable cost, a firm will continue to operate in the
short run because it is covering at least some of its fixed costs. (LOS 13.d)
Module Quiz 13.2
1. B The demand for products from firms competing in monopolistic competition is
relatively elastic due to the availability of many close substitutes. If a firm increases its
product price, it will lose customers to firms selling substitute products at lower prices.
(LOS 13.b)
2. B Monopolistic competition is likely to result in a higher price and lower quantity of
output compared to perfect competition. (LOS 13.d)
3. C The profit-maximizing output is the quantity at which marginal revenue equals
marginal cost. In a price-searcher industry structure (i.e., any structure that is not
perfect competition), price is greater than marginal revenue. (LOS 13.d, 13.e, 13.f)
Module Quiz 13.3
1. C An oligopolistic industry has a great deal of interdependence among firms. One
firm’s pricing decisions or advertising activities will affect the other firms. (LOS 13.a)
2. C The kinked demand model assumes that each firm in a market believes that at
some price, demand is more elastic for a price increase than for a price decrease.
(LOS 13.b)
3. A The Nash equilibrium results when each nation pursues the strategy that is best,
given the strategy that is pursued by the other nation.
Given that Germany complies with the agreement: France will get €8 billion if it
complies, but €10 billion if it defaults. Therefore, France should default.
Given that Germany defaults: France will get €2 billion if it complies, but €4
billion if it defaults. Therefore, France should default.
Because France is better off in either case by defaulting, France will default.
Germany will follow the same logic and reach the same conclusion.
(LOS 13.e)
Module Quiz 13.4
1. C Monopolists must search for the profit maximizing price (and output) because they
do not have perfect information regarding demand. Firms under perfect competition
take the market price as given and only determine the profit maximizing quantity.
(LOS 13.b)
2. A A monopolist will expand production until MR = MC, and the price of the product
will be determined by the demand curve. (LOS 13.d)
3. C When a regulatory agency requires a monopolist to use average cost pricing, the
intent is to price the product where the ATC curve intersects the market demand curve.
A problem in using this method is actually determining exactly what the ATC is.
(LOS 13.e)
4. C Although the N-firm concentration ratio is simple to calculate, it can be relatively
insensitive to mergers between companies with large market shares. Neither the HHI
nor the N-firm concentration ratio consider barriers to entry. (LOS 13.g)
5. C These characteristics are associated with a market structure of monopolistic
competition. Firms in perfect competition do not compete on product features.
Oligopolistic markets have high barriers to entry. (LOS 13.h)
The following is a review of the Economics (1) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #14.
READING 14: AGGREGATE OUTPUT,
PRICES, AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
Study Session 4
EXAM FOCUS
This topic review introduces macroeconomics and the measurement of aggregate economic
output. The crucial concepts to grasp here are aggregate demand, short-run aggregate supply,
and long-run aggregate supply. Know the factors that cause the aggregate demand and supply
curves to shift and the sources of long-run economic growth. Understand the various
measures of aggregate income (nominal and real GDP, national income, personal income, and
personal disposable income). The interaction among saving, investment, the fiscal balance,
and the trade balance will be built on in the next Study Session on international trade and
foreign exchange.
MODULE 14.1: GDP, INCOME, AND
EXPENDITURES
LOS 14.a: Calculate and explain gross domestic product (GDP) using
expenditure and income approaches.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 118
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the total market value of the goods and services produced
in a country within a certain time period. GDP is the most widely used measure of the size of
a nation’s economy. GDP includes only purchases of newly produced goods and services.
The sale or resale of goods produced in previous periods is excluded. Transfer payments
made by the government (e.g., unemployment, retirement, and welfare benefits) are not
economic output and are not included in the calculation of GDP.
The values used in calculating GDP are market values of final goods and services—that is,
goods and services that will not be resold or used in the production of other goods and
services. The value of the computer chips that Intel makes is not explicitly included in GDP;
their value is included in the final prices of computers that use the chips. The value of a
Rembrandt painting that sells for 10 million euros is not included in the calculation of GDP,
as it was not produced during the period.
Goods and services provided by government are included in GDP even though they are not
explicitly priced in markets. For example, the services provided by police and the judiciary,
and goods such as roads and infrastructure improvements, are included. Because these goods
and services are not sold at market prices, they are valued at their cost to the government.
GDP also includes the value of owner-occupied housing, just as it includes the value of rental
housing services. Because the value of owner-occupied housing is not revealed in market
transactions, the value is estimated for inclusion in GDP. The value of labor not sold, such as
a homeowner’s repairs to his own home, is not included in GDP. By-products of production,
such as environmental damage, are not included in GDP.
GDP can be calculated as the sum of all the spending on newly produced goods and services,
or as the sum of the income received as a result of producing these goods and services. Under
the expenditure approach, GDP is calculated by summing the amounts spent on goods and
services produced during the period. Under the income approach, GDP is calculated by
summing the amounts earned by households and companies during the period, including
wage income, interest income, and business profits.
For the whole economy, total expenditures and total income must be equal, so the two
approaches should produce the same result. In practice, measurement issues result in different
values under the two methods.
LOS 14.b: Compare the sum-of-value-added and value-of-final-output methods of
calculating GDP.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 119
So far, we have described the calculation of GDP under the expenditure approach as
summing the values of all final goods and services produced. This expenditure method is
termed the value-of-final-output method.
Under the sum-of-value-added method, GDP is calculated by summing the additions to
value created at each stage of production and distribution. An example of the calculation for a
specific product is presented in Figure 14.1.
Figure 14.1: Value Added at Stages of Production
Stage of Production
Sales Value ($)
Value Added ($)
Raw materials/components
$100
$100
Manufacturing
$350
$250
Retail
$400
$50
Sum of value added
$400
The intuition is clear. The prices of final goods and services include, and are equal to, the
additions to value at each stage of production (e.g., from mining iron ore and making steel to
assembling an automobile that contains machined steel parts).
LOS 14.c: Compare nominal and real GDP and calculate and interpret the GDP
deflator.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 122
Nominal GDP is simply GDP as we have described it under the expenditures approach: the
total value of all goods and services produced by an economy, valued at current market
prices. For an economy with N different goods and services, we can express nominal GDP as:
N
= ∑ Pi ,t Qi, t
nominal GDPt for year t
i=1
N
= ∑ (price of good i in year t)
i=1
×(quantity of good i produced in year t)
Because nominal GDP is based on current prices, inflation will increase nominal GDP even if
the physical output of goods and services remains constant from one year to the next. Real
GDP measures the output of the economy using prices from a base year, removing the effect
of changes in prices so that inflation is not counted as economic growth.
Real GDP is calculated relative to a base year. By using base-year prices and current-year
output quantities, real GDP growth reflects only increases in total output, not simply
increases (or decreases) in the money value of total output.
Assuming the base year prices are those for five years ago, real GDP can be calculated as:
N
real GDP for year t
= ∑ Pi ,base year Qi ,t
i=1
N
= ∑ (price of good i in year t − 5)
i=1
× (quantity of good i produced in year t)
The GDP deflator is a price index that can be used to convert nominal GDP into real GDP,
taking out the effects of changes in the overall price level. The GDP deflator is based on the
current mix of goods and services, using prices at the beginning and end of the period. The
GDP deflator is calculated as:
N
GDP deflator for year t =
∑ Pi,t Qi ,t
i=1
N
× 100 =
∑ P i,bas eyear Qi,t
nominal GDP in year t
×
value of year t output at base year prices
100
i=1
Per-capita real GDP is defined as real GDP divided by population and is often used as a
measure of the economic well-being of a country’s residents.
EXAMPLE: Calculating and using the GDP deflator
1. GDP in 20X2 is $1.80 billion at 20X2 prices and $1.65 billion when calculated using 20X1 prices.
Calculate the GDP deflator using 20X1 as the base period.
2. Nominal GDP was $213 billion in 20X6 and $150 billion in 20X1. The 20X6 GDP deflator relative
to the base year 20X1 is 122.3. Calculate real GDP for 20X6 and the compound annual real growth
rate of economic output from 20X1 to 20X6.
Answer:
1. GDP deflator = 1.80 / 1.65 × 100 = 109.1, reflecting a 9.1% increase in the price level.
2. Real GDP 20X6 = $213 / 1.223 = $174.16.
Noting that real and nominal GDP are the same for the base year, the compound real annual growth
rate of economic output over the 5-year period is:
1
( 174.16
150
1
5
) − 1 = 3.03%
LOS 14.d: Compare GDP, national income, personal income, and personal disposable
income.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 129
Using the expenditure approach, the major components of real GDP are consumption,
investment, government spending, and net exports (exports minus imports). These
components are summarized in the equation:
GDP = C + I + G + (X – M)
where:
C = consumption spending
I = business investment (capital equipment, inventories)
G = government purchases
X = exports
M = imports
We may also express this equation as:
GDP = (C + GC) + (I + GI) + (X – M)
where:
GC = government consumption
GI = government investment (capital goods, inventories)
Under the income approach, we have the following equation for GDP, or gross domestic
income (GDI):
GDP = national income + capital consumption allowance + statistical discrepancy
A capital consumption allowance (CCA) measures the depreciation (i.e., wear) of physical
capital from the production of goods and services over a period. CCA can be thought of as
the amount that would have to be reinvested to maintain the productivity of physical capital
from one period to the next. The statistical discrepancy is an adjustment for the difference
between GDP measured under the income approach and the expenditure approach because
they use different data.
National income is the sum of the income received by all factors of production that go into
the creation of final output:
national income
= compensation of employees (wages and benefits)
+ corporate and government enterprise profits before taxes
+ interest income
+ unincorporated business net income (business owners’ incomes)
+ rent
+ indirect business taxes – subsidies (taxes and subsidies that are included in final prices)
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
Candidates should be aware that different countries’ economic reporting bureaus may use their own
terminology. For example, Statistics Canada defines gross domestic income as “net domestic
income + consumption of fixed capital + statistical discrepancy,” where net domestic income is
“compensation of employees + gross operating surplus + gross mixed income + taxes less subsidies
on production + taxes less subsidies on products and imports.”
Personal income is a measure of the pretax income received by households and is one
determinant of consumer purchasing power and consumption. Personal income differs from
national income in that personal income includes all income that households receive,
including government transfer payments such as unemployment or disability benefits.
Household disposable income or personal disposable income is personal income after
taxes. Disposable income measures the amount that households have available to either save
or spend on goods and services and is an important economic indicator of the ability of
consumers to spend and save.
LOS 14.e: Explain the fundamental relationship among saving, investment, the fiscal
balance, and the trade balance.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 135
To show how private savings are related to investment, the government sector, and foreign
trade, we will combine the income and expenditure approaches to measuring GDP.
As we have seen, total expenditures can be stated as GDP = C + I + G + (X – M). Total
income, which must equal total expenditures, can be stated as:
GDP = C + S + T
where:
C = consumption spending
S = household and business savings
T = net taxes (taxes paid minus transfer payments received)
Because total income equals total expenditures, we have the equality:
C + I + G + (X – M) = C + S + T
Rearranging this equation and solving for S (household and business savings), we get the
following fundamental relationship:
S = I + (G – T) + (X – M)
Note that (G – T) is the fiscal balance, or the difference between government spending and
tax receipts. Recall that (X – M) is net exports, or the trade balance. This equation shows
that private savings must equal private investment, plus government borrowing or minus
government savings, and minus the trade deficit or plus the trade surplus.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
In this equation and the ones we will derive from it, a positive value for (G – T) is a government
budget deficit and a negative value for (G – T) is a budget surplus. On the other hand, a positive
value for (X – M) is a trade surplus and a negative value for (X – M) is a trade deficit.
If we solve this equation for the fiscal balance, we get:
(G – T) = (S – I) – (X – M)
From this equation, we can see that a government deficit (G – T > 0) must be financed by
some combination of a trade deficit (X – M < 0) or an excess of private saving over private
investment (S – I > 0).
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
In the topic review of International Trade and Capital Flows, we will see that a trade deficit (current
account deficit) must be associated with an inflow of foreign investment (capital account surplus).
So we can interpret this equation as saying a fiscal deficit must be financed by a combination of
domestic and foreign capital.
MODULE QUIZ 14.1
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. The least appropriate approach to calculating a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) is
summing for a given time period:
A. the value of all purchases and sales that took place within the country.
B. the amount spent on final goods and services produced within the country.
C. the income generated in producing all final goods and services produced within the
country.
2. Gross domestic product does not include the value of:
A. transfer payments.
B. government services.
C. owner-occupied housing.
3. When GDP is calculated by the sum-of-value-added method, what is the value of a
manufactured product in GDP?
A. The sum of the product’s value at each stage of production and distribution.
B. The sum of the increases in the product’s value at each stage of production and
distribution.
C. The product’s retail price less the value added at each stage of production and
distribution.
4. Real GDP is best described as the value of:
A. current output measured at current prices.
B. current output measured at base-year prices.
C. base-year output measured at current prices.
5. The GDP deflator is calculated as 100 times the ratio of:
A. nominal GDP to real GDP.
B. base year prices to current year prices.
C. current year nominal GDP to base year nominal GDP.
6. Which of the following measures of income is the sum of wages and benefits, pretax profits,
interest income, owners’ income from unincorporated businesses, rent, and taxes net of
subsidies?
A. Personal income.
B. National income.
C. Disposable income.
7. If a government budget deficit increases, net exports must:
A. increase, or the excess of private saving over private investment must decrease.
B. decrease, or the excess of private saving over private investment must increase.
C. decrease, or the excess of private saving over private investment must decrease.
MODULE 14.2: AGGREGATE DEMAND AND
SUPPLY
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LOS 14.f: Explain the IS and LM curves and how they combine to generate the
aggregate demand curve.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 135
To derive the aggregate demand curve, we need to understand the factors that determine each
of the components of GDP:
Consumption is a function of disposable income. An increase in personal income or a
decrease in taxes will increase both consumption and saving. Additional disposable
income will be consumed or saved. The proportion of additional income spent on
consumption is called the marginal propensity to consume (MPC), and the proportion
saved is the marginal propensity to save (MPS). MPC + MPS must equal 100%.
Investment is a function of expected profitability and the cost of financing. Expected
profitability depends on the overall level of economic output. Financing costs are
reflected in real interest rates, which are approximated by nominal interest rates
minus the expected inflation rate.
Government purchases may be viewed as independent of economic activity to a degree,
but tax revenue to the government, and therefore the fiscal balance, is clearly a function
of economic output.
Net exports are a function of domestic disposable incomes (which affect imports),
foreign disposable incomes (which affect exports), and relative prices of goods in
foreign and domestic markets.
The IS curve (income-savings) in Figure 14.2 illustrates the negative relationship between
real interest rates and real income for equilibrium in the goods market. Points on the IS curve
are the combinations of real interest rates and income consistent with equilibrium in the
goods market (i.e., those combinations of real interest rates and income for which planned
expenditures equal income).
Figure 14.2: The IS Curve
Lower interest rates tend to decrease savings (in favor of current consumption) and tend to
increase investment by firms because more investments will have positive NPVs when firms’
cost of capital is lower. Therefore, a decrease in interest rates decreases S – I, so that (S – I) <
(G – T) + (X – M). In order to satisfy this fundamental relationship, income must increase.
Greater income can restore equilibrium in the goods market by increasing savings (which
increases S – I), increasing tax receipts (which decreases G – T), and increasing imports
(which decreases X – M).
The LM curve (liquidity-money) in Figure 14.3 illustrates the positive relationship between
real interest rates and income consistent with equilibrium in the money market. Higher real
interest rates decrease the quantity of real money balances individuals want to hold, so for a
given real money supply (M/P constant), equilibrium in the money market requires that an
increase in real interest rates be accompanied by an increase in income. The increase in the
demand for money from an increase in income can offset the decrease in demand for money
from higher real interest rates and restore equilibrium in the money market.
Figure 14.3: The LM Curve
For overall equilibrium, the values of real interest rates and income must be consistent with
equilibrium in both the goods market and the money market. We illustrate this simultaneous
equilibrium as the intersection of the IS and LM curves in Figure 14.4.
Figure 14.4: Simultaneous Equilibrium in the Goods Market and the Money Market
The LM curve is drawn for a given level of the real money supply, M/P. Holding the nominal
money supply, M, constant, an increase in the price level decreases the real money supply and
a decrease in the price level increases the real money supply. Because an increase (decrease)
in the real money supply shifts the LM curve downward (upward), we can identify the
different combinations of income and real interest rates consistent with equilibrium for
different price levels. The intuition here is that a greater real money supply reduces
equilibrium real interest rates and shifts the LM curve, as illustrated in Figure 14.5.
Figure 14.5: LM Curves for Different Levels of Real Money Supply
The Aggregate Demand Curve
When the IS and LM curves are combined, the point at which they intersect represents the
levels of the real interest rate and income that are consistent with equilibrium between
income and expenditure (points along the IS curve) and equilibrium between the real money
supply and the real interest rate (points along the LM curve). The intersection between the IS
and LM curves determines the equilibrium levels of prices and real income (real GDP) for a
given level of the real money supply.
The aggregate demand (AD) curve shows the relationship between the quantity of real
output demanded (which equals real income) and the price level. When we drew the LM
curve, we held the real money supply (M/P) constant. Now, if we hold the nominal money
supply (M) constant, changes in the real money supply are due to changes in the price level
(P). An increase in the price level will decrease the real money supply (M/P), and a decrease
in the price level will increase the real money supply (M/P).
In Panel (a) of Figure 14.6, Point A is on an LM curve for a lower real money supply (and
therefore a higher price level) than Point B. Point C is on an LM curve for a higher real
money supply (and therefore a lower price level) then Point B. As a result, the relationship
between the price level and real income, given that income is equal to planned expenditures
(the IS curve) and money demand is equal to money supply (the LM curve), must be
downward sloping. This is the aggregate demand curve [Panel (b) in Figure 14.6].
Figure 14.6: Deriving the Aggregate Demand Curve
The aggregate demand curve slopes downward because higher price levels (holding the
money supply constant) reduce real wealth, increase real interest rates, and make
domestically produced goods more expensive compared to goods produced abroad, all of
which reduce the quantity of domestic output demanded.
LOS 14.g: Explain the aggregate supply curve in the short run and long run.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 147
The Aggregate Supply Curve
The aggregate supply (AS) curve describes the relationship between the price level and the
quantity of real GDP supplied, when all other factors are kept constant. That is, it represents
the amount of output that firms will produce at different price levels.
We need to consider three aggregate supply curves with different time frames: the very shortrun aggregate supply (VSRAS) curve, the short-run aggregate supply (SRAS) curve, and the
long-run aggregate supply (LRAS) curve.
In the very short run, firms will adjust output without changing price by adjusting labor hours
and intensity of use of plant and equipment in response to changes in demand. We represent
this with the perfectly elastic very short run aggregate supply (VSRAS) curve in Figure 14.7.
Figure 14.7: Aggregate Supply Curves
In the short run, the SRAS curve slopes upward because some input prices will change as
production is increased or decreased. We assume in the short run that output prices will
change proportionally to the price level but that at least some input prices are sticky, meaning
that they do not adjust to changes in the price level in the short run. When output prices
increase, the price level increases, but firms see no change in input prices in the short run.
Firms respond by increasing output in anticipation of greater profits from higher output
prices. The result is an upward-sloping SRAS curve.
All input costs can vary in the long run, and the LRAS curve in Figure 14.7 is perfectly
inelastic. In the long run, wages and other input prices change proportionally to the price
level, so the price level has no long-run effect on aggregate supply. We refer to this level of
output as potential GDP or full-employment GDP.
LOS 14.h: Explain causes of movements along and shifts in aggregate demand and
supply curves.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 148
Shifts in the Aggregate Demand Curve
The aggregate demand (AD) curve reflects the total level of expenditures in an economy by
consumers, businesses, governments, and foreigners. A number of factors can affect this level
of expenditures and cause the AD curve to shift. Note that a change in the price level is
represented as a movement along the AD curve, not a shift in the AD curve. In Figure 14.8, an
increase in aggregate demand is shown by a shift to the right, indicating that the quantity of
goods and services demanded is greater at any given price level.
Figure 14.8: Increase in Aggregate Demand
In trying to understand and remember the factors that affect aggregate demand, it may help to
recall that, from the expenditure point of view, GDP = C + I + G + net X. For changes in each
of the following factors that increase aggregate demand (shift AD to the right), we identify
which component of expenditures is increased.
1. Increase in consumers’ wealth: As the value of households’ wealth increases (real
estate, stocks, and other financial securities), the proportion of income saved decreases
and spending increases, increasing aggregate demand (C increases).
2. Business expectations: When businesses are more optimistic about future sales, they
tend to increase their investment in plant, equipment, and inventory, which increases
aggregate demand (I increases).
3. Consumer expectations of future income: When consumers expect higher future
incomes, due to a belief in greater job stability or expectations of rising wage income,
they save less for the future and increase spending now, increasing aggregate demand
(C increases).
4. High capacity utilization: When companies produce at a high percentage 1 of their
capacity, they tend to invest in more plant and equipment, increasing aggregate demand
(I increases).
5. Expansionary monetary policy: When the rate of growth of the money supply is
increased, banks have more funds to lend, which puts downward pressure on interest
rates. Lower interest rates increase investment in plant and equipment because the cost
of financing these investments declines. Lower interest rates and greater availability of
credit will also increase consumers’ spending on consumer durables (e.g., automobiles,
large appliances) that are typically purchased on credit. Thus, the effect of
expansionary monetary policy is to increase aggregate demand (C and I increase).
Note that if the economy is operating at potential GDP (LRAS) when the monetary
expansion takes place, the increase in real output will be only for the short run. In the
long run, subsequent increases in input prices decrease SRAS and return output to
potential GDP.
6. Expansionary fiscal policy: Expansionary fiscal policy refers to a decreasing
government budget surplus (or an increasing budget deficit) from decreasing taxes,
increasing government expenditures, or both. A decrease in taxes increases disposable
income and consumption, while an increase in government spending increases
aggregate demand directly (C increases for tax cut, G increases for spending increase).
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
A complete analysis of monetary and fiscal policy as they relate to overall expenditures and GDP is
presented in our topic review of Monetary and Fiscal Policy.
7. Exchange rates: A decrease in the relative value of a country’s currency will increase
exports and decrease imports. Both of these effects tend to increase domestic aggregate
demand (net X increases).
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
We will analyze the effect of exchange rates on exports and imports in our topic review of Currency
Exchange Rates.
8. Global economic growth: GDP growth in foreign economies tends to increase the
quantity of imports (domestic exports) foreigners demand. By increasing domestic
export demand, this will increase aggregate demand (net X increases).
Note that for each factor, a change in the opposite direction will tend to decrease aggregate
demand.
Shifts in the Short-Run Aggregate Supply Curve
The short-run aggregate supply (SRAS) curve reflects the relationship between output and
the price level when wages and other input prices are held constant (or are slow to adjust to
higher output prices). The curve shows the total level of output that businesses are willing to
supply at different price levels. A number of factors can affect this level of output and cause
the SRAS curve to shift. In Figure 14.9, an increase in aggregate supply is shown by a shift to
the right, as the quantity supplied at each price level increases.
Figure 14.9: Increase in Aggregate Supply
In addition to changes in potential GDP (shifts in long-run aggregate supply), a number of
factors can cause the SRAS curve to shift to the right:
1. Labor productivity: Holding the wage rate constant, an increase in labor productivity
(output per hour worked) will decrease unit costs to producers. Producers will increase
output as a result, increasing SRAS (shifting it to the right).
2. Input prices: A decrease in nominal wages or the prices of other important productive
inputs will decrease production costs and cause firms to increase production, increasing
SRAS. Wages are often the largest contributor to a producer’s costs and have the
greatest impact on SRAS.
3. Expectations of future output prices: When businesses expect the price of their
output to increase in the future, they will expand production, increasing SRAS.
4. Taxes and government subsidies: Either a decrease in business taxes or an increase in
government subsidies for a product will decrease the costs of production. Firms will
increase output as a result, increasing SRAS.
5. Exchange rates: Appreciation of a country’s currency in the foreign exchange market
will decrease the cost of imports. To the extent that productive inputs are purchased
from foreign countries, the resulting decrease in production costs will cause firms to
increase output, increasing SRAS.
Again, an opposite change in any of these factors will tend to decrease SRAS.
Shifts in the Long-Run Aggregate Supply Curve
The long-run aggregate supply (LRAS) curve is vertical (perfectly inelastic) at the potential
(full-employment) level of real GDP. Changes in factors that affect the real output that an
economy can produce at full employment will shift the LRAS curve.
Factors that will shift the LRAS curve are:
1. Increase in the supply and quality of labor: Because LRAS reflects output at full
employment, an increase in the labor force will increase full-employment output and
the LRAS. An increase in the skills of the workforce, through training and education,
will increase the productivity of a labor force of a given size, increasing potential real
output and increasing LRAS.
2. Increase in the supply of natural resources: Just as with an increase in the labor
force, increases in the available amounts of other important productive inputs will
increase potential real GDP and LRAS.
3. Increase in the stock of physical capital: For a labor force of a given size, an increase
in an economy’s accumulated stock of capital equipment will increase potential output
and LRAS.
4. Technology: In general, improvements in technology increase labor productivity
(output per unit of labor) and thereby increase the real output that can be produced
from a given amount of productive inputs, increasing LRAS.
Decreases in labor quality, labor supply, the supply of natural resources, or the stock of
physical capital will all decrease LRAS (move the curve to the left). Technology does not
really retreat, but a law prohibiting the use of an improved technology could decrease LRAS.
Movement Along Aggregate Demand and Supply Curves
In contrast with shifts in the aggregate demand and aggregate supply curves, movements
along these curves reflect the impact of a change in the price level on the quantity demanded
and the quantity supplied. Changes in the price level alone do not cause shifts in the AD and
AS curves, although we have allowed that changes in expected future prices can.
MODULE QUIZ 14.2
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1. The IS curve illustrates which of the following relationships?
A. Direct relationship between aggregate income and the price level.
B. Inverse relationship between aggregate income and the price level.
C. Inverse relationship between aggregate income and the real interest rate.
2. An economy’s potential output is best represented by:
A. long-run aggregate supply.
B. short-run aggregate supply.
C. long-run aggregate demand.
3. A stronger domestic currency relative to foreign currencies is most likely to result in:
A. a shift in the aggregate supply curve toward lower supply.
B. a shift in the aggregate demand curve toward lower demand.
C. a movement along the aggregate demand curve towards higher prices.
4. Which of the following factors would be least likely to shift the aggregate demand curve?
A. The price level increases.
B. The federal deficit expands.
C. Expected inflation decreases.
MODULE 14.3: MACROECONOMIC EQUILIBRIUM
AND GROWTH
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LOS 14.i: Describe how fluctuations in aggregate demand and aggregate supply cause
short-run changes in the economy and the business cycle.
LOS 14.j: Distinguish between the following types of macroeconomic equilibria: longrun full employment, short-run recessionary gap, short-run inflationary gap, and shortrun stagflation.
LOS 14.k: Explain how a short-run macroeconomic equilibrium may occur at a level
above or below full employment.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 161
Having explained the factors that cause shifts in the aggregate demand and aggregate supply
curves, we now turn our attention to the effects of fluctuations in aggregate supply and
demand on real GDP and the business cycle. Our starting point is an economy that is in longrun full-employment equilibrium, as illustrated in Figure 14.10.
Figure 14.10: Long-Run Equilibrium Real Output
First consider a decrease in aggregate demand, which can result from a decrease in the
growth rate of the money supply, an increase in taxes, a decrease in government spending,
lower equity and house prices, or a decrease in the expectations of consumers and businesses
for future economic growth. As illustrated in Figure 14.11, a decrease in aggregate demand
will reduce both real output and the price level in the short run. The new short-run
equilibrium output, GDP1, is less than full employment (potential) GDP. The decrease in
aggregate demand has resulted in both lower real output and a lower price level.
Figure 14.11: Adjustment to a Decrease in Aggregate Demand
Because real GDP is less than full employment GDP, we say there is a recessionary gap. A
recession is a period of declining GDP and rising unemployment. Classical economists
believed that unemployment would drive down wages, as workers compete for available jobs,
which in turn would increase SRAS and return the economy to its full employment level of
real GDP. Keynesian economists, on the other hand, believe that this might be a slow and
economically painful process and that increasing aggregate demand through government
action is the preferred alternative. Both expansionary fiscal policy (increasing government
spending or decreasing taxes) and expansionary monetary policy (increasing the growth rate
of the money supply to reduce interest rates) are methods to increase aggregate demand and
return real GDP to its full employment (potential) level.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
We will describe Classical, Keynesian, and other business cycle theories in the topic review of
Understanding Business Cycles.
A second case to consider is an increase in aggregate demand that results in an equilibrium at
a level of GDP greater than full-employment GDP in the short run, as illustrated in
Figure 14.12. Note that both GDP and the price level are increased. The economy can operate
at a level of GDP greater than full-employment GDP in the short run, as workers work
overtime and maintenance of productive equipment is delayed, but output greater than fullemployment GDP cannot be maintained in the long run. In the long run, the economy always
returns to full-employment GDP along the LRAS curve.
Figure 14.12: Adjustment to an Increase in Aggregate Demand
We term the difference between GDP1 and full-employment GDP in Figure 14.12 an
inflationary gap because the increase in aggregate demand from its previous level causes
upward pressure on the price level. Competition among producers for workers, raw materials,
and energy may shift the SRAS curve to the left, returning the economy to full-employment
GDP but at a price level that is higher still. Alternatively, government policy makers can
reduce aggregate demand by decreasing government spending, increasing taxes, or slowing
the growth rate of the money supply, in order to move the economy back to the initial long
run equilibrium at full-employment GDP.
Changes in wages or the prices of other important productive inputs can shift the SRAS
curve, affecting real GDP and the price level in the short run. An important case to consider is
a decrease in SRAS caused by an increase in the prices of raw materials or energy. As
illustrated in Figure 14.13, the new short-run equilibrium is at lower GDP and a higher
overall price level for goods and services compared to the initial long-run equilibrium. This
combination of declining economic output and higher prices is termed stagflation (stagnant
economy with inflation).
Figure 14.13: Stagflation
A subsequent decrease in input prices can return the economy to its long-run equilibrium
output. An increase in aggregate demand from either expansionary fiscal or monetary policy
can also return the economy to its full employment level, but at a price level that is higher
still compared to the initial equilibrium.
Stagflation is an especially difficult situation for policy makers because actions to increase
aggregate demand to restore full employment will also increase the price level even more.
Conversely, a decision by policy makers to fight inflation by decreasing aggregate demand
will decrease GDP even further. A decrease in wages and the prices of other productive
inputs may be expected to increase SRAS and restore full-employment equilibrium.
However, this process may be quite slow and doing nothing may be a very risky strategy for a
government when voters expect action to restore economic growth or stem inflationary
pressures.
The fourth case to consider is an increase in SRAS due to a decrease in the price of important
productive inputs. As illustrated in Figure 14.14, the resulting new short-run equilibrium is at
a level of GDP greater than full-employment GDP and a lower overall price level.
Figure 14.14: Decrease in Input Prices
In Figure 14.15, we present a summary of the short-run effects of shifts in aggregate demand
and in aggregate supply on real GDP, unemployment, and the price level.
Figure 14.15: Short-Run Macroeconomic Effects
Type of Change
Real GDP
Unemployment
Price Level
Increase in AD
Increase
Decrease
Increase
Decrease in AD
Decrease
Increase
Decrease
Increase in AS
Increase
Decrease
Decrease
Decrease in AS
Decrease
Increase
Increase
LOS 14.l: Analyze the effect of combined changes in aggregate supply and demand on
the economy.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 161
When both aggregate supply and aggregate demand change, the effects on equilibrium output
and the price level may be clear when the effects on the variable are in the same direction (or
ambiguous when the effects on the variable are in opposite directions). We summarize the
effects of combined changes in demand and supply in Figure 14.16.
When aggregate demand and aggregate supply both increase, real GDP increases but
the effect on the price level depends on the relative magnitudes of the changes because
their price effects are in opposite directions [Panel (a) of Figure 14.16].
When aggregate demand and aggregate supply both decrease, real GDP decreases but
the effect on the price level depends on the relative magnitudes of the changes because
their price effects are in opposite directions [Panel (b) of Figure 14.16].
When aggregate demand increases and aggregate supply decreases, the price level
will increase but the effect on real GDP depends on the relative magnitudes of the
changes because their effects on economic output are in opposite directions [Panel (c)
of Figure 14.16].
When aggregate demand decreases and aggregate supply increases, the price level
will decrease but the effect on real GDP depends on the relative magnitudes of the
changes because their effects on economic output are in opposite directions [Panel (d)
of Figure 14.16)].
Figure 14.16: Changes in Aggregate Supply and Aggregate Demand
LOS 14.m: Describe sources, measurement, and sustainability of economic growth.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 172
Economic growth can best be explained by examining five important sources of economic
growth:
1. Labor supply. The labor force is the number of people over the age of 16 who are
either working or available for work but currently unemployed. It is affected by
population growth, net immigration, and the labor force participation rate (described in
our topic review of Understanding Business Cycles). Growth of the labor force is an
important source of economic growth.
2. Human capital. The education and skill level of a country’s labor force can be just as
important a determinant of economic output as the size of the labor force. Because
workers who are skilled and well-educated (possess more human capital) are more
productive and better able to take advantage of advances in technology, investment in
human capital leads to greater economic growth.
3. Physical capital stock. A high rate of investment increases a country’s stock of
physical capital. As noted earlier, a larger capital stock increases labor productivity and
potential GDP. An increased rate of investment in physical capital can increase
economic growth.
4. Technology. As noted previously, improvements in technology increase productivity
and potential GDP. More rapid improvements in technology lead to greater rates of
economic growth.
5. Natural resources. Raw material inputs, such as oil and land, are necessary to produce
economic output. These resources may be renewable (e.g., forests) or non-renewable
(e.g., coal). Countries with large amounts of productive natural resources can achieve
greater rates of economic growth.
Sustainability of Economic Growth
One way to view potential GDP is with the following equation:
potential GDP = aggregate hours worked × labor productivity
Or, stated in terms of economic growth:
growth in potential GDP = growth in labor force + growth in labor productivity
An economy’s sustainable growth rate can be estimated by estimating the growth rate of
labor productivity and the growth rate of the labor force. For example, if Japan’s labor force
is projected to shrink by 1%, while its labor productivity is expected to grow by 2%, then we
would estimate the growth in potential GDP as: –1% + 2% = 1%.
The sustainable rate of economic growth is important because long-term equity returns are
highly dependent on economic growth over time. A country’s sustainable rate of economic
growth is the rate of increase in the economy’s productive capacity (potential GDP).
LOS 14.n: Describe the production function approach to analyzing the sources of
economic growth.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 172
A production function describes the relationship of output to the size of the labor force, the
capital stock, and productivity.
Economic output can be thought of as a function of the amounts of labor and capital that are
available and their productivity, which depends on the level of technology available. That is:
Y = A × f(L, K)
where:
Y = aggregate economic output
L = size of labor force
K = amount of capital available
A = total factor productivity
The multiplier, A, is referred to as total factor productivity and quantifies the amount of
output growth that is not explained by increases in the size of the labor force and capital.
Total factor productivity is closely related to technological advances. Generally, total factor
productivity cannot be observed directly and must be inferred based on the other factors.
The production function can be stated on a per-worker basis by dividing by L:
Y/L
= A × f( K/L )
where:
Y/L = output per worker (labor productivity)
K/L = physical capital per worker
This relationship suggests that labor productivity can be increased by either improving
technology or increasing physical capital per worker.
We assume that the production function exhibits diminishing marginal productivity for
each individual input, meaning the amount of additional output produced by each additional
unit of input declines (holding the quantities of other inputs constant). For this reason,
sustainable long-term growth cannot necessarily be achieved simply by capital deepening
investment—that is to say, increasing physical capital per worker over time. Productivity
gains and growth of the labor force are also necessary for long-term sustainable growth.
LOS 14.o: Distinguish between input growth and growth of total factor productivity as
components of economic growth.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 173
A well-known model (the Solow model or neoclassical model) of the contributions of
technology, labor, and capital to economic growth is:
growth in potential GDP = growth in technology + WL(growth in labor) + WC(growth in
capital)
where WL and WC are labor’s percentage share of national income and capital’s percentage
share of national income. Like the multiplier, A, in a production function, the additional
growth in potential GDP from “growth in technology” represents the change in total factor
productivity, the growth of output that is not explained by the growth of labor and capital.
Growth in technology is the primary driver of the growth in total factor productivity.
Consider a developed country where WL = 0.7 and WC = 0.3. For that country, a 1% increase
in the labor force will lead to a much greater increase in economic output than a 1% increase
in the capital stock. Similarly, sustained growth of the labor force will result in greater
economic growth over time than sustained growth of the capital stock of an equal magnitude.
Sometimes the relationship between potential GDP, improvements in technology, and capital
growth is written on a per-capita basis2 as:
growth in per-capita potential GDP = growth in technology + WC (growth in the capitalto-labor ratio)
With WC = 0.25, for example, each 1% increase in capital per worker will increase GDP per
worker by 0.25%. In developed economies, where capital per worker is already relatively
high, growth of technology will be the primary source of growth in GDP per worker. At
higher levels of capital per worker, an economy will experience diminishing marginal
productivity of capital and must look to advances in technology for strong economic growth.
MODULE QUIZ 14.3
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. Starting from short-run equilibrium, if aggregate demand is increasing faster than long-run
aggregate supply:
A. the price level is likely to increase.
B. downward pressure on wages should ensue.
C. supply will increase to meet the additional demand.
2. A short-run macroeconomic equilibrium in which output must decrease to restore long-run
equilibrium is most accurately characterized as:
A. stagflation.
B. a recessionary gap.
C. an inflationary gap.
3. Which of the following combinations of changes in aggregate demand and aggregate supply
is most likely to result in decreasing prices? Aggregate demand:
A. decreases while aggregate supply increases.
B. decreases while aggregate supply decreases.
C. increases while aggregate supply decreases.
4. Labor productivity is most likely to increase as a result of:
A. an increase in physical capital.
B. a decrease in net immigration.
C. an increase in the labor force participation rate.
5. Long-term sustainable growth of an economy is least likely to result from growth in:
A. the supply of labor.
B. capital per unit of labor.
C. output per unit of labor.
6. In a production function model of economic output, total factor productivity represents the
output growth that can be accounted for by:
A. capital growth but not labor growth.
B. neither labor growth nor capital growth.
C. the combined effects of labor growth and capital growth.
7. In a developed economy, the primary source of growth in potential GDP is:
A. capital investment.
B. labor supply growth.
C. technology advances.
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 14.a
Gross domestic product (GDP) is the market value of all final goods and services produced
within a country during a certain time period.
Using the expenditure approach, GDP is calculated as the total amount spent on goods and
services produced in the country during a time period.
Using the income approach, GDP is calculated as the total income earned by households and
businesses in the country during a time period.
LOS 14.b
The expenditure approach to measuring GDP can use the sum-of-value-added method or the
value-of-final-output method.
Sum-of-value-added: GDP is calculated by summing the additions to value created at
each stage of production and distribution.
Value-of-final-output: GDP is calculated by summing the values of all final goods and
services produced during the period.
LOS 14.c
Nominal GDP values goods and services at their current prices. Real GDP measures current
year output using prices from a base year.
The GDP deflator is a price index that can be used to convert nominal GDP into real GDP by
removing the effects of changes in prices.
LOS 14.d
The four components of gross domestic product are consumption spending, business
investment, government spending, and net exports.
GDP = C + I + G + (X − M).
National income is the income received by all factors of production used in the creation of
final output.
Personal income is the pretax income received by households.
Household disposable income is personal income after taxes.
LOS 14.e
Private saving and investment are related to the fiscal balance and the trade balance. A fiscal
deficit must be financed by some combination of a trade deficit or an excess of private saving
over private investment.
(G − T) = (S − I) − (X – M).
LOS 14.f
The IS curve shows the negative relationship between the real interest rate and levels of
aggregate income that are equal to planned expenditures at each real interest rate.
The LM curve shows, for a given level of the real money supply, a positive relationship
between the real interest rate and levels of aggregate income at which demand and supply of
real money balances are equal.
The points at which the IS curve intersects LM curves for different levels of the real money
supply (i.e., for different price levels, holding the nominal money supply constant) form the
aggregate demand curve. The aggregate demand curve shows the negative relationship
between GDP (real output demanded) and the price level, when other factors are held
constant.
LOS 14.g
The short-run aggregate supply curve shows the positive relationship between real GDP
supplied and the price level, when other factors are held constant. Holding some input costs
such as wages fixed in the short run, the curve slopes upward because higher output prices
result in greater output (real wages fall).
Because all input prices are assumed to be flexible in the long run, the long-run aggregate
supply curve is perfectly inelastic (vertical). Long-run aggregate supply represents potential
GDP, the full employment level of economic output.
LOS 14.h
Changes in the price level cause movement along the aggregate demand or aggregate supply
curves.
Shifts in the aggregate demand curve are caused by changes in household wealth, business
and consumer expectations, capacity utilization, fiscal policy, monetary policy, currency
exchange rates, and global economic growth rates.
Shifts in the short-run aggregate supply curve are caused by changes in nominal wages or
other input prices, expectations of future prices, business taxes, business subsidies, and
currency exchange rates, as well as by the factors that affect long-run aggregate supply.
Shifts in the long-run aggregate supply curve are caused by changes in labor supply and
quality, the supply of physical capital, the availability of natural resources, and the level of
technology.
LOS 14.i
The short-run effects of changes in aggregate demand and in aggregate supply are
summarized in the following table:
Type of Change
Real GDP
Unemployment
Price Level
Increase in AD
Increase
Decrease
Increase
Decrease in AD
Decrease
Increase
Decrease
Increase in AS
Increase
Decrease
Decrease
Decrease in AS
Decrease
Increase
Increase
LOS 14.j
In long-run equilibrium, real GDP is equal to full-employment (potential) GDP. An increase
in aggregate demand can result in a short-run equilibrium with GDP greater than fullemployment GDP, termed an inflationary gap. A decrease in aggregate demand can result in
a short-run equilibrium with GDP less than full-employment, termed a recessionary gap.
When short-run aggregate supply decreases, the resulting short-run equilibrium is with GDP
reduced to less than full-employment GDP but with an increase in the price level, termed
stagflation.
LOS 14.k
From a situation of long-run equilibrium: an increase in either aggregate demand or aggregate
supply can result in a short-run equilibrium with real GDP greater than full employment
GDP; a decrease in either aggregate demand or aggregate supply can result in a short-run
equilibrium with real GDP less than full-employment GDP.
LOS 14.l
Short-run effects of shifts in both aggregate demand and aggregate supply on the price level
and real GDP:
Aggregate Demand
Aggregate Supply
Change in Real GDP
Change in Price Level
Increase
Increase
Increase
May increase or decrease
Decrease
Decrease
Decrease
May increase or decrease
Increase
Decrease
May increase or decrease
Increase
Decrease
Increase
May increase or decrease
Decrease
LOS 14.m
Sources of economic growth include increases in the supply of labor, increases in human
capital, increases in the supply of physical capital, increasing availability of natural resources,
and advances in technology.
The sustainable rate of economic growth is determined by the rate of increase in the labor
force and the rate of increase in labor productivity.
LOS 14.n
A production function relates economic output to the supply of labor, the supply of capital,
and total factor productivity. Total factor productivity is a residual factor, which represents
that part of economic growth not accounted for by increases in the supply of labor and
capital. Increases in total factor productivity can be attributed to advances in technology.
LOS 14.o
In developed countries, where a high level of capital per worker is available and capital
inputs experience diminishing marginal productivity, technological advances that increase
total factor productivity are the main source of sustainable economic growth.
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 14.1
1. A Adding all purchases and sales is not appropriate because these would include
goods that were produced before the time period in question. All purchases and sales
could also result in double-counting intermediate goods. GDP is the market value of all
final goods and services produced in a country in a certain period of time. GDP can be
calculated either by totaling the amount spent on goods and services produced in the
economy (the expenditure approach), or the income generated in producing these goods
and services (the income approach). (LOS 14.b)
2. A Owner-occupied housing and government services are included in GDP at imputed
(estimated) values. Transfer payments are excluded from the calculation of GDP.
(LOS 14.a)
3. B Using the sum-of-value-added method, GDP can be calculated by summing the
value added at each stage in the production and distribution process. Summing the
value of the product at each stage of production would count the value added at earlier
stages multiple times. The value added at earlier stages would not be included in GDP
if it was deducted from the retail price. (LOS 14.b)
4. B Real GDP is the value of current period output calculated using prices from a base
year. (LOS 14.c)
5. A The GDP deflator is the ratio of nominal GDP to real GDP, or equivalently the
ratio of current year prices to base year prices. (LOS 14.c)
6. B National income is the income received by all factors of production used in the
generation of final output. Personal income measures the pretax income that
households receive. Disposable income is personal income after taxes. (LOS 14.d)
7. B The fundamental relationship among saving, investment, the fiscal balance, and the
trade balance is described by the following equation: (G – T) = (S – I) – (X – M). If the
government budget deficit (G – T) increases, the larger budget deficit must be financed
by some combination of an increase in the excess of private saving over private
investment (S – I) or a decrease in net exports (X – M). (LOS 14.e)
Module Quiz 14.2
1. C The IS curve shows an inverse relationship between aggregate income and the real
interest rate. The inverse relationship between aggregate income and the price level is
the aggregate demand curve. (LOS 14.f)
2. A The LRAS curve is vertical at the level of potential GDP. (LOS 14.g)
3. B Strengthening of the domestic currency should cause exports to decrease and
imports to increase, causing the AD curve to shift to the left (lower demand). At the
same time, the cost of raw material inputs should decrease in domestic currency terms,
causing the SRAS curve to shift to the right (greater supply). Changes in the price level
cause movement along the AD and AS curves; in this case, any shifts along these
curves will be towards lower prices. (LOS 14.h)
4. A Since the y-axis of the aggregate supply/demand model is the price level, a change
in the price level is a movement along the AD curve. As long as inflation expectations
are unchanged, an increase in the price level will not shift the aggregate demand curve.
(LOS 14.h)
Module Quiz 14.3
1. A If AD is increasing faster than LRAS, the economy is expanding faster than its
full-employment rate of output. This will cause pressure on wages and resource prices
and lead to an increase in the price level. The SRAS curve will shift to the left—a
decrease in supply for any given price level—until the rate of output growth slows to
its full-employment potential. (LOS 14.i)
2. C If output must decrease to restore long-run equilibrium, the short-run equilibrium
must be at an output level greater than long-run aggregate supply. This describes an
inflationary gap. (LOS 14.j, 14.k)
3. A Decreasing aggregate demand combined with increasing aggregate supply will
result in decreasing prices. Increasing aggregate demand combined with decreasing
aggregate supply will result in increasing prices. A decrease or an increase in both
aggregate demand and aggregate supply may either increase or decrease prices.
(LOS 14.l)
4. A Increased investment in physical capital can increase labor productivity. Labor
force participation rates and net immigration affect the size of the labor force and the
aggregate number of hours worked, but do not necessarily affect labor productivity.
(LOS 14.m)
5. B The sustainable rate of economic growth is a measurement of the rate of increase in
the economy’s productive capacity. An economy’s sustainable rate of growth depends
on the growth rate of the labor supply and the growth rate of labor productivity. Due to
diminishing marginal productivity, an economy generally cannot achieve long-term
sustainable growth through continually increasing the stock of capital relative to labor
(i.e., capital deepening). (LOS 14.m)
6. B Total factor productivity represents output growth in excess of that resulting from
the growth in labor and capital. (LOS 14.n)
7. C For developed economies, advances in technology are likely to be the primary
source of growth in potential GDP because capital per worker is already high enough to
experience diminishing marginal productivity of capital. (LOS 14.o)
1. According to the Federal Reserve, “Industrial plants usually operate at capacity utilization rates that are well
below 100 percent... For total industry and total manufacturing, utilization rates have exceeded 90 percent only
in wartime.” (Federal Reserve Statistical Release G.17, “Industrial Production and Capacity Utilization,”
www.federalreserve.gov/releases/g17/current/g17.pdf)
2. Paul R. Kutasovic, CFA, and Richard G. Fritz, Aggregate Output, Prices, and Economic Growth, CFA®
Program Level I 2020 Curriculum, Volume 2, 2019.
The following is a review of the Economics (1) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #15.
READING 15: UNDERSTANDING
BUSINESS CYCLES
Study Session 4
EXAM FOCUS
The phase of the business cycle is the starting point for top-down financial analysis.
Candidates need to know how to interpret the many economic indicators that are available
and why various indicators tend to lead, coincide with, or lag behind changes in economic
activity. Indicators of unemployment and inflation are crucial for understanding fiscal and
monetary policy actions.
MODULE 15.1: BUSINESS CYCLE PHASES
LOS 15.a: Describe the business cycle and its phases.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 198
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The business cycle is characterized by fluctuations in economic activity. Real gross domestic
product (GDP) and the rate of unemployment are the key variables used to determine the
current phase of the cycle.
The business cycle has four phases: expansion (real GDP is increasing), peak (real GDP
stops increasing and begins decreasing), contraction or recession (real GDP is decreasing),
and trough (real GDP stops decreasing and begins increasing). The phases are illustrated in
Figure 15.1.
Figure 15.1: Business Cycle
An expansion features growth in most sectors of the economy, with increasing employment,
consumer spending, and business investment. As an expansion approaches its peak, the rates
of increase in spending, investment, and employment slow but remains positive, while
inflation accelerates.
A contraction or recession is associated with declines in most sectors, with inflation typically
decreasing. When the contraction reaches a trough and the economy begins a new expansion
or recovery, economic growth becomes positive again and inflation is typically moderate, but
employment growth may not start to increase until the expansion has taken hold
convincingly.
A common rule of thumb is to consider two consecutive quarters of growth in real GDP as
the beginning of an expansion and two consecutive quarters of declining real GDP as
indicating the beginning of a contraction. Statistical agencies that date expansions and
recessions, such as the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States, look at a
wider variety of economic data such as employment, industrial production, and real personal
income to identify turning points in the business cycle.
A key aspect of business cycles is that they recur, but not at regular intervals. Past business
cycles have been as short as a year or longer than a decade.
The idea of a business cycle applies to economies that consist mainly of businesses. For
economies that are mostly subsistence agriculture or dominated by state planning,
fluctuations in activity are not really “business cycles” in the sense we are discussing here.
LOS 15.b: Describe how resource use, housing sector activity, and external trade sector
activity vary as an economy moves through the business cycle.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 200
Resource Use Fluctuation
Inventories are an important business cycle indicator. Firms try to keep enough inventory on
hand to meet sales demand but do not want to keep too much of their capital tied up in
inventory. As a result, the ratio of inventory to sales in many industries trends toward a
normal level in times of steady economic growth.
When an expansion is approaching its peak, sales growth begins to slow, and unsold
inventories accumulate. This can be seen in an increase in the inventory-sales ratio above its
normal level. Firms respond to an unplanned increase in inventory by reducing production,
which is one of the causes of the subsequent contraction in the economy. An increase in
inventories is counted in the GDP statistics as economic output, whether the increase is
planned or unplanned. An analyst who looks only at GDP growth, rather than the inventorysales ratio, might see economic strength rather than the beginning of weakness.
The opposite occurs when a contraction reaches its trough. Having reduced their production
levels to adjust for lower sales demand, firms find their inventories becoming depleted more
quickly once sales growth begins to accelerate. This causes the inventory-sales ratio to
decrease below its normal level. To meet the increase in demand, firms will increase output,
and the inventory-sales ratio will increase toward normal levels.
One of the ways firms react to fluctuations in business activity is by adjusting their utilization
of labor and physical capital. Adding and subtracting workers in lockstep with changes in
economic growth would be costly for firms, in terms of both direct expenses and the damage
it would do to employee morale and loyalty. Instead, firms typically begin by changing how
they utilize their current workers, producing less or more output per hour or adjusting the
hours they work by adding or removing overtime. Only when an expansion or contraction
appears likely to persist will they hire or lay off workers.
Similarly, because it is costly to adjust production levels by frequently buying and selling
plant and equipment, firms first adjust their production levels by using their existing physical
capital more or less intensively. As an expansion persists, firms will increase their production
capacity by investing more in plant and equipment. During contractions, however, firms will
not necessarily sell plant and equipment outright. They can reduce their physical capacity by
spending less on maintenance or by delaying the replacement of equipment that is near the
end of its useful life.
Housing Sector Activity
Although the housing sector is a small part of the economy relative to overall consumer
spending, cyclical swings in activity in the housing market can be large so that the effect on
overall economic activity is greater than it otherwise would be. Important determinants of the
level of economic activity in the housing sector are:
1. Mortgage rates: Low interest rates tend to increase home buying and construction
while high interest rates tend to reduce home buying and construction.
2. Housing costs relative to income: When incomes are cyclically high (low) relative to
home costs, including mortgage financing costs, home buying and construction tend to
increase (decrease). Housing activity can decrease even when incomes are rising late in
a cycle if home prices are rising faster than incomes, leading to decreases in purchase
and construction activity in the housing sector.
3. Speculative activity: As we saw in the housing sector in 2007 and 2008 in many
economies, rising home prices can lead to purchases based on expectations of further
gains. Higher prices led to more construction and eventually excess building. This
resulted in falling prices that decreased or eliminated speculative demand and led to
dramatic decreases in housing activity overall.
4. Demographic factors: The proportion of the population in the 25- to 40-year-old
segment is positively related to activity in the housing sector because these are the ages
of greatest household formation. In China, a strong population shift from rural areas to
cities as manufacturing activity has grown has required large increases in construction
of new housing to accommodate those needs.
External Trade Sector Activity
The most important factors determining the level of a country’s imports and exports are
domestic GDP growth, GDP growth of trading partners, and currency exchange rates.
Increasing growth of domestic GDP leads to increases in purchases of foreign goods
(imports), while decreasing domestic GDP growth reduces imports. Exports depend on the
growth rates of GDP of other economies (especially those of important trading partners).
Increasing foreign incomes increase sales to foreigners (exports) and decreasing economic
growth in foreign countries decreases domestic exports.
An increase in the value of a country’s currency makes its goods more expensive to foreign
buyers and foreign goods less expensive to domestic buyers, which tends to decrease exports
and increase imports. A decrease in the value of a country’s currency has the opposite effect,
increasing exports and decreasing imports. Currencies affect import and export volumes over
time in response to persistent trends in foreign exchange rates, rather than in response to
short-term changes which can be quite volatile.
Currency effects can differ in direction from GDP growth effects and change in response to a
complex set of variables. The effects of changes in GDP levels and growth rates are more
direct and immediate.
Typical business cycle characteristics may be summarized as follows:
Trough:
GDP growth rate changes from negative to positive.
High unemployment rate, increasing use of overtime and temporary workers.
Spending on consumer durable goods and housing may increase.
Moderate or decreasing inflation rate.
Expansion:
GDP growth rate increases.
Unemployment rate decreases as hiring accelerates.
Investment increases in producers’ equipment and home construction.
Inflation rate may increase.
Imports increase as domestic income growth accelerates.
Peak:
GDP growth rate decreases.
Unemployment rate decreases but hiring slows.
Consumer spending and business investment grow at slower rates.
Inflation rate increases.
Contraction/recession:
GDP growth rate is negative.
Hours worked decrease, unemployment rate increases.
Consumer spending, home construction, and business investment decrease.
Inflation rate decreases with a lag.
Imports decrease as domestic income growth slows.
LOS 15.c: Describe theories of the business cycle.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 211
The causes of business cycles are a subject of considerable debate among economists.
Neoclassical school economists believe shifts in both aggregate demand and aggregate
supply are primarily driven by changes in technology over time. They also believe that the
economy has a strong tendency toward full-employment equilibrium, as recession puts
downward pressure on the money wage rate, or as over-full employment puts upward
pressure on the money wage rate. They conclude that business cycles result from temporary
deviations from long-run equilibrium.
The Great Depression of the 1930s did not support the beliefs of the neoclassical economists.
The economy in the United States operated significantly below its full-employment level for
many years. Additionally, business cycles in general have been more severe and more
prolonged than the neoclassical model would suggest.
British economist John Maynard Keynes attempted to explain the Depression and the nature
of business cycles. He provided policy recommendations for moving the economy toward
full-employment GDP and reducing the severity and duration of business cycles. Keynes
believed that shifts in aggregate demand due to changes in expectations were the primary
cause of business cycles. Keynesian school economists believe these fluctuations are
primarily due to swings in the level of optimism of those who run businesses. They
overinvest and overproduce when they are too optimistic about future growth in potential
GDP, and they underinvest and underproduce when they are too pessimistic or fearful about
the future growth in potential GDP.
Keynesians argue that wages are “downward sticky,” reducing the ability of a decrease in
money wages to increase short-run aggregate supply and move the economy from recession
(or depression) back toward full employment. The policy prescription of Keynesian
economists is to increase aggregate demand directly, through monetary policy (increasing the
money supply) or through fiscal policy (increasing government spending, decreasing taxes, or
both).
The New Keynesian school added the assertion that the prices of productive inputs other
than labor are also “downward sticky,” presenting additional barriers to the restoration of
full-employment equilibrium.
A third view of macroeconomic equilibrium is that held by the Monetarist school.
Monetarists believe the variations in aggregate demand that cause business cycles are due to
variations in the rate of growth of the money supply, likely from inappropriate decisions by
the monetary authorities. Monetarists believe that recessions can be caused by external
shocks or by inappropriate decreases in the money supply. They suggest that to keep
aggregate demand stable and growing, the central bank should follow a policy of steady and
predictable increases in the money supply.
Economists of the Austrian school believe business cycles are caused by government
intervention in the economy. When policymakers force interest rates down to artificially low
levels, firms invest too much capital in long-term and speculative lines of production,
compared to actual consumer demand. When these investments turn out poorly, firms must
decrease output in those lines, which causes a contraction.
New Classical school economists introduced real business cycle theory (RBC). RBC
emphasizes the effect of real economic variables such as changes in technology and external
shocks, as opposed to monetary variables, as the cause of business cycles. RBC applies utility
theory, which we described in the Study Session on microeconomic analysis, to
macroeconomics. Based on a model in which individuals and firms maximize expected
utility, New Classical economists argue that policymakers should not try to counteract
business cycles because expansions and contractions are efficient market responses to real
external shocks.
MODULE QUIZ 15.1
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. In the early part of an economic expansion, inventory-sales ratios are most likely to:
A. increase because sales are unexpectedly low.
B. increase because businesses plan for expansion.
C. decrease because of unexpected increases in sales.
2. The contraction phase of the business cycle is least likely accompanied by decreasing:
A. unemployment.
B. inflation pressure.
C. economic output.
3. According to which business cycle theory should expansionary monetary policy be used to
fight a recession?
A. Keynesian school.
B. Monetarist school.
C. New Classical school.
MODULE 15.2: INFLATION AND INDICATORS
LOS 15.d: Describe types of unemployment and compare measures of
unemployment.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 219
Unemployment can be divided into three categories:
1. Frictional unemployment results from the time lag necessary to match employees
who seek work with employers needing their skills. Frictional unemployment is always
with us as employers expand or contract their businesses and workers move, are fired,
or quit to seek other opportunities.
2. Structural unemployment is caused by long-run changes in the economy that
eliminate some jobs while generating others for which unemployed workers are not
qualified. Structural unemployment differs from frictional unemployment in that the
unemployed workers do not currently have the skills needed to perform the jobs that
are available.
3. Cyclical unemployment is caused by changes in the general level of economic
activity. Cyclical unemployment is positive when the economy is operating at less than
full capacity and can be negative when an expansion leads to employment temporarily
over the full employment level.
A person who is not working is considered to be unemployed if he is actively searching for
work.1 One who has been seeking work unsuccessfully for several months is referred to as
long-term unemployed.
The unemployment rate is the percentage of people in the labor force who are unemployed.
The labor force includes all people who are either employed or unemployed. People who
choose not to be in the labor force are said to be voluntarily unemployed and are not included
in the calculation of the unemployment rate.
A person who is employed part time but would prefer to work full time or is employed at a
low-paying job despite being qualified for a significantly higher-paying one is said to be
underemployed. Identification of the number of underemployed is somewhat subjective and
not easily discernible from employment statistics.
The participation ratio (also referred to as the activity ratio or labor force participation
rate) is the percentage of the working-age population who are either employed or actively
seeking employment.
Short-term fluctuations in the participation ratio can occur because of changes in the number
of discouraged workers, those who are available for work but are neither employed nor
actively seeking employment. The participation rate tends to increase when the economy
expands and decrease during recessions. Discouraged workers who stopped seeking jobs
during a recession are motivated to seek work again once the expansion takes hold and they
believe their prospects of finding work are better.
This movement of discouraged workers out of and back into the labor force causes the
unemployment rate to be a lagging indicator of the business cycle. Early in an expansion
when hiring prospects begin to improve, the number of discouraged workers who re-enter the
labor force is greater than the number who are hired immediately. This causes the
unemployment rate to increase even though employment is expanding. To gauge the current
state of the labor market, analysts should include other widely available indicators such as the
number of employees on payrolls.
Earlier, we noted that firms tend to be slow to hire or lay off workers at business cycle
turning points. This also causes the unemployment rate to lag the business cycle. The effect
can also be seen in data on productivity, or output per hour worked. Productivity declines
early in contractions as firms try to keep employees on despite producing less output.
Productivity increases early in expansions as firms try to produce more output but are not yet
ready to hire new workers.
When comparing unemployment rates across countries, analysts should note that different
reporting agencies may use somewhat dissimilar methods for calculating the statistics. Also,
all of the employment indicators mentioned here apply only to legal employment. Participants
in illegal sectors of the economy are not reflected in employment data.
LOS 15.e: Explain inflation, hyperinflation, disinflation, and deflation.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 223
Inflation is a persistent increase in the price level over time. If the price level increases in a
single jump but does not continue rising, the economy is not experiencing inflation. An
increase in the price of a single good, or in relative prices of some goods, is not inflation. If
inflation is present, the prices of almost all goods and services are increasing.
Inflation erodes the purchasing power of a currency. Inflation favors borrowers at the expense
of lenders because when the borrower returns the principal to the lender, it is worth less in
terms of goods and services (in real terms) than it was worth when it was borrowed. Inflation
that accelerates out of control is referred to as hyperinflation, which can destroy a country’s
monetary system and bring about social and political upheavals.
The inflation rate is the percentage increase in the price level, typically compared to the
prior year. Analysts can use the inflation rate as a business cycle indicator and to anticipate
changes in central bank monetary policy. As we will see in the topic review on fiscal and
monetary policy, an objective of central banks is to keep inflation within some target range.
Disinflation refers to an inflation rate that is decreasing over time but remains greater than
zero.
A persistently decreasing price level (i.e., a negative inflation rate) is called deflation.
Deflation is commonly associated with deep recessions. When most prices are decreasing,
consumers delay purchases because they believe they can buy the same goods more cheaply
in the future. For firms, deflation results in decreasing revenue and increasing real fixed costs.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
Values stated as “real” are adjusted for inflation over some defined period. This makes values at
different points in time comparable in terms of purchasing power.
LOS 15.f: Explain the construction of indexes used to measure inflation.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 225
To calculate a rate of inflation, we need to use a price index as a proxy for the price level. A
price index measures the average price for a defined basket of goods and services. The
consumer price index (CPI) is the best-known indicator of U.S. inflation. Many countries
use indexes similar to the CPI.
The CPI basket represents the purchasing patterns of a typical urban household. Weights for
the major categories in the CPI are shown in Figure 15.2.
Figure 15.2: Relative Importance in the CPI as of April 2016
Category
Percent of Index
Food
13.9%
Energy
6.6%
All items less food and energy
79.5%
Commodities less food and energy commodities:
Apparel
3.2%
New vehicles
3.8%
Used cars and trucks
2.1%
Medical care commodities
1.8%
Alcoholic beverages
1.0%
Tobacco and smoking products
0.7%
Services less energy services:
Shelter
33.3%
Medical care services
6.6%
Transportation services
5.9%
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor (stats.bls.gov)
To calculate the CPI, the Bureau of Labor Statistics compares the cost of the CPI basket
today with the cost of the basket in an earlier base period. The value of the index is as
follows:
CPI =
cost of basket at current prices
× 100
cost of basket at base period prices
EXAMPLE: Calculating a price index
The following table shows price information for a simplified basket of goods:
Quantity
Price in
Base Period
Current Price
Cheeseburgers
200
2.50
3.00
Movie tickets
50
7.00
10.00
Gasoline (in gallons)
300
1.50
3.00
Digital watches
100
12.00
9.00
Item
Calculate the change in the price index for this basket from the base period to the current period.
Answer:
Reference base period:
Cheeseburgers
200 × 2.50 =
Movie tickets
50 × 7.00 =
Gasoline
300 × 1.50 =
Watches
100 × 12.00 =
Cost of basket
Current period:
Cheeseburgers
Movie tickets
Gasoline
Watches
Cost of basket
price index =
200 × 3.00 =
50 × 10.00 =
300 × 3.00 =
100 × 9.00 =
2,900
2,500
The price index is up
116
100
500
350
450
1,200
2,500
600
500
900
900
2,900
× 100 = 116
− 1 = 16% over the period.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
The LOS requires you to “explain the construction of” price indexes but does not require you to
calculate them.
Analysts who compare price indexes for different countries should be aware of differences in
their composition. The weights assigned to each good and service reflect the typical
consumer’s purchasing patterns, which are likely to be significantly different across countries
and regions. There can also be differences in how the data are collected. In the United States,
for example, the most frequently cited CPI measure is based on the purchases typical of “all
urban consumers.” Other countries may survey a different set of consumers and consequently
use different baskets of goods.
An alternative measure of consumer price inflation is the price index for personal
consumption expenditures. In the United States, this index is created by surveying businesses
rather than consumers. The GDP deflator, which we described in an earlier topic review, is
another widely used inflation measure.
Analysts who look for emerging trends in consumer prices are often interested in the prices of
goods in process. Widespread price increases for producers’ goods may be passed along to
consumers. For most major economies, a producer price index (PPI) or wholesale price
index (WPI) is available. Analysts can observe the PPI for different stages of processing (raw
materials, intermediate goods, and finished goods) to watch for emerging price pressure. Subindexes of the PPI are also useful for identifying changes in relative prices of producers’
inputs, which may indicate shifts in demand among industries.
For both consumer and producer prices, analysts and policymakers often distinguish between
headline inflation and core inflation. Headline inflation refers to price indexes for all goods.
Core inflation refers to price indexes that exclude food and energy. Food and energy prices
are typically more volatile than those of most other goods. Thus, core inflation can sometimes
be a more useful measure of the underlying trend in prices.
LOS 15.g: Compare inflation measures, including their uses and limitations.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 227
The price index we calculated in our example is a Laspeyres index, which uses a constant
basket of goods and services. Most countries calculate consumer price inflation this way.
Three factors cause a Laspeyres index of consumer prices to be biased upward as a measure
of the cost of living:
New goods. Older products are often replaced by newer, but initially more expensive,
products. New goods are periodically added to the market basket, and the older goods
they replace are reduced in weight in the index. This biases the index upward.
Quality changes. If the price of a product increases because the product has improved,
the price increase is not due to inflation but still increases the price index.
Substitution. Even in an inflation-free economy, prices of goods relative to each other
change all the time. When two goods are substitutes for each other, consumers increase
their purchases of the relatively cheaper good and buy less of the relatively more
expensive good. Over time, such changes can make a Laspeyres index’s fixed basket of
goods a less accurate measure of typical household spending.
A technique known as hedonic pricing can be used to adjust a price index for product
quality. To address the bias from substitution, reporting agencies can use a chained or chainweighted price index such as a Fisher index. A Fisher index is the geometric mean of a
Laspeyres index and a Paasche index. A Paasche index uses the current consumption
weights, prices from the base period, and prices in the current period.
EXAMPLE: Paasche index
Continuing the example we presented earlier, assume the basket of goods has changed as follows:
Item
Cheeseburgers
Quantity in
base period
Price in
base period
Quantity in
current period
Current Price
200
2.50
205
3.00
Cheeseburgers
200
2.50
205
3.00
Movie tickets
50
7.00
45
10.00
Gasoline (in gallons)
300
1.50
295
3.00
Digital watches
100
12.00
105
9.00
Calculate a Paasche index for the current period, compare it to the Laspeyres index (previously calculated
as 116), and explain the difference.
Answer:
Reference base period:
Cheeseburgers
205 × 2.50 =
Movie tickets
45 × 7.00 =
Gasoline
295 × 1.50 =
Watches
105 × 12.00 =
Cost of basket
Current period:
Cheeseburgers
Movie tickets
Gasoline
Watches
Cost of basket
205 × 3.00 =
45 × 10.00 =
295 × 3.00 =
105 × 9.00 =
Paasche index =
2,895
2,530
512.50
315.00
442.50
1,260.00
2,530.00
615.00
450.00
885.00
945.00
2,895.00
× 100 = 114.43
The Paasche index is less than 116 because, compared to the base period, consumers have substituted away
from the two goods with the largest percentage price increases (gasoline and movie tickets).
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
The LOS does not require you to calculate these indexes. We show these examples to illustrate how
substitution of goods by consumers can affect index values.
LOS 15.h: Distinguish between cost-push and demand-pull inflation.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 231
The two types of inflation are cost-push and demand-pull. Cost-push inflation results from a
decrease in aggregate supply, while demand-pull inflation results from an increase in
aggregate demand.
Cost-Push Inflation
Inflation can result from an initial decrease in aggregate supply caused by an increase in the
real price of an important factor of production, such as wages or energy. Figure 15.3
illustrates the effect on output and the price level of a decrease in aggregate supply. The
reduction from SRAS0 to SRAS1 increases the price level to P1, and with no initial change in
aggregate demand, reduces output to GDP1.
If the decline in GDP brings a policy response that stimulates aggregate demand so output
returns to its long-run potential, the result would be a further increase in the price level to P2.
Figure 15.3: Cost-Push Inflation
Because labor is the most important cost of production, wage pressure can be a source of
cost-push inflation (sometimes called wage-push inflation when it occurs). Upward pressure
on wages is more likely to emerge when cyclical unemployment is low, but it can occur even
when cyclical unemployment is present. Because every individual provides a different type
and quality of labor, some segments of the economy may have trouble finding enough
qualified workers even during a contraction. As a result, the non-accelerating inflation rate
of unemployment (NAIRU), also called the natural rate of unemployment (NARU), can
be higher than the rate associated with the absence of cyclical unemployment. NARU or
NAIRU can vary over time and is likely different across countries.
Analysts can use publicly available data on hourly and weekly earnings and labor
productivity to identify signs of potential wage pressure. Wage increases are not inflationary
as long as they remain in line with gains in productivity. A useful indicator of wages and
benefits in terms of productivity is unit labor costs, the ratio of total labor compensation per
hour to output units per hour.
An additional source of wage pressure is expected inflation. If workers expect inflation to
increase, they will increase their wage demands accordingly. One indicator analysts use to
gauge expected inflation is the difference in yield between inflation-indexed bonds, such as
Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, and otherwise similar non-indexed Treasury bonds.
Demand-Pull Inflation
Demand-pull inflation can result from an increase in the money supply, increased government
spending, or any other change that increases aggregate demand. Figure 15.4 shows the effect
on the price level when the economy is at full employment and aggregate demand increases
(shifts to the right). In Figure 15.4, the economy is initially at full-employment equilibrium,
with output at GDP* and the price level at P0, so that the aggregate demand and short-run
aggregate supply curves are AD0 and SRAS0. Real GDP is equal to potential GDP, which is
represented by the long-run aggregate supply curve LRAS.
Figure 15.4: Demand-Pull Inflation
Now suppose the central bank increases the money supply, which increases aggregate
demand to AD1. With no initial change in aggregate supply, output increases to GDP1, and
the price level increases to P1. Prices rise, and real GDP is above potential (full-employment)
GDP.
With real GDP above its full-employment level, the increase in GDP is not sustainable.
Unemployment falls below its natural rate, which puts upward pressure on real wages. Rising
real wages result in a decrease in short-run aggregate supply (the curve shifts left to SRAS1)
until real GDP reverts back to full-employment GDP. Output falls back to GDP*, and the
price level increases further to P2.
In the absence of other changes, the economy would reach a new equilibrium price level at
P2. But what would happen if the central bank tried to keep GDP above the full-employment
level with further increases in the money supply? The same results would occur repeatedly.
Output cannot remain above its potential in the long run, but the induced increase in
aggregate demand and the resulting pressure on wages would keep the price level rising even
higher. Demand-pull inflation would persist until the central bank reduced the growth rate of
the money supply and allowed the economy to return to full-employment equilibrium at a
level of real GDP equal to potential GDP.
Economists often use the capacity utilization rate of industry to indicate the potential for
demand-pull inflation. High rates of capacity utilization suggest the economy is producing at
or above potential GDP and may experience inflationary pressure.
The impact on output is the key difference between the demand-pull and cost-push effects.
The demand-pull effect increases GDP above full-employment GDP, while with cost-push
inflation, a decrease in aggregate supply initially decreases GDP.
LOS 15.i: Interpret a set of economic indicators and describe their uses and limitations.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 237
Earlier in this topic review, we described the unemployment rate as a lagging indicator.
Economic indicators can be classified into three categories: leading indicators that have
been known to change direction before peaks or troughs in the business cycle, coincident
indicators that change direction at roughly the same time as peaks or troughs, and lagging
indicators that don’t tend to change direction until after expansions or contractions are
already underway.
The Conference Board publishes indexes of leading, coincident, and lagging indicators for
several countries. Their indexes for the United States include the following components:
Leading indicators: Average weekly hours in manufacturing; initial claims for
unemployment insurance; manufacturers’ new orders for consumer goods;
manufacturers’ new orders for non-defense capital goods ex-aircraft; Institute for
Supply Management new orders index; building permits for new houses; S&P 500
equity price index; Leading Credit Index; 10-year Treasury to Fed funds interest rate
spread; and consumer expectations.
Coincident indicators: Employees on nonfarm payrolls; real personal income; index of
industrial production; manufacturing and trade sales.
Lagging indicators: Average duration of unemployment; inventory-sales ratio; change
in unit labor costs; average prime lending rate; commercial and industrial loans; ratio of
consumer installment debt to income; change in consumer price index.
Other sources, such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
(OECD) and the Economic Cycle Research Institute (ECRI), also publish indexes of
economic indicators for the world’s major economies.
Analysts should use leading, coincident, and lagging indicators together to determine the
phase of the business cycle. They should also use the composite indexes to confirm what is
indicated by individual indicators. If a widely followed leading indicator, such as stock prices
or initial claims for unemployment insurance, changes direction, but most other leading
indicators have not, an analyst should not yet conclude that a peak or trough is imminent.
EXAMPLE: Interpreting economic indicators
Karen Trumbull, CFA, gathers the following economic reports for the United States in the most recent two
months:
Latest Month
Prior Month
Building permits
+1.8%
+0.7%
Commerical and industrial loans
−0.9%
−1.6%
Consumer price index
−0.1%
−0.2%
Index of industrial production
+0.2%
0.0%
New orders for consumer goods
+2.2%
+1.6%
Real personal income
0.0%
−0.4%
Based on these indicators, what should Trumbull conclude about the phase of the business cycle?
Answer:
Commercial and industrial loans and the consumer price index are lagging indicators. Industrial production
and real personal income are coincident indicators. These indicators suggest the business cycle has been in
the contraction phase.
Building permits and orders for consumer goods are leading indicators. Increases in both of these in the
latest two months suggest an economic expansion may be emerging.
Taken together, these data indicate that the business cycle may be at or just past its trough.
Analysts should be aware that the classifications leading, coincident, and lagging indicators
reflect tendencies in the timing of their turning points, not exact relationships with the
business cycle. Not all changes in direction of leading indicator indexes have been followed
by corresponding changes in the business cycle, and even when they have, the lead time has
varied. This common criticism is summed up in the often repeated comment, “Declines in
stock prices have predicted nine of the last four recessions.”
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
Analysts who use economic indicators in forecasting models must guard against look-ahead bias.
The data are not available immediately. For example, data for May are typically first released in
mid- to late June and may be revised in July and August.
MODULE QUIZ 15.2
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. The unemployment rate is defined as the number of unemployed as a percentage of:
A. the labor force.
B. the number of employed.
C. the working-age population.
2. A country’s year-end consumer price index over a 5-year period is as follows:
Year 1
106.5
Year 2
114.2
Year 3
119.9
Year 4
124.8
Year 5
128.1
The behavior of inflation as measured by this index is best described as:
A. deflation.
B. disinflation.
C. hyperinflation.
3. Core inflation is best described as an inflation rate:
A. for producers’ raw materials.
B. the central bank views as acceptable.
C. that excludes certain volatile goods prices.
4. Which of the following is least likely to reduce substitution bias in a consumer price index?
A. Use a chained index.
B. Use a Paasche index.
C. Adjust for the bias directly using hedonic pricing.
5. In which of the following inflation scenarios does short-run aggregate supply decrease due
to increasing wage demands?
A. Cost-push inflation.
B. Demand-pull inflation.
C. Both cost-push and demand-pull inflation.
6. An economic indicator that has turning points which tend to occur after the turning points in
the business cycle is classified as:
A. a lagging indicator.
B. a leading indicator.
C. a trailing indicator.
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 15.a
The business cycle has four phases:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Expansion: Real GDP is increasing.
Peak: Real GDP stops increasing and begins decreasing.
Contraction: Real GDP is decreasing.
Trough: Real GDP stops decreasing and begins increasing.
Expansions feature increasing output, employment, consumption, investment, and inflation.
Contractions are characterized by decreases in these indicators.
Business cycles are recurring but do not occur at regular intervals, can differ in strength or
severity, and do not persist for specific lengths of time.
LOS 15.b
Inventory to sales ratios typically increase late in expansions when sales slow and decrease
near the end of contractions when sales begin to accelerate. Firms decrease or increase
production to restore their inventory-sales ratios to their desired levels.
Because hiring and laying off employees have high costs, firms prefer to adjust their
utilization of current employees. As a result, firms are slow to lay off employees early in
contractions and slow to add employees early in expansions.
Firms use their physical capital more intensively during expansions, investing in new
capacity only if they believe the expansion is likely to continue. They use physical capital
less intensively during contractions, but they are more likely to reduce capacity by deferring
maintenance and not replacing equipment than by selling their physical capital.
The level of activity in the housing sector is affected by mortgage rates, demographic
changes, the ratio of income to housing prices, and investment or speculative demand for
homes resulting from recent price trends.
Domestic imports tend to rise with increases in GDP growth and domestic currency
appreciation, while increases in foreign incomes and domestic currency depreciation tend to
increase domestic export volumes.
LOS 15.c
Neoclassical economists believe business cycles are temporary and driven by changes in
technology, and that rapid adjustments of wages and other input prices cause the economy to
move to full-employment equilibrium.
Keynesian economists believe excessive optimism or pessimism among business managers
causes business cycles and that contractions can persist because wages are slow to move
downward. New Keynesians believe input prices other than wages are also slow to move
downward.
Monetarists believe inappropriate changes in the rate of money supply growth cause business
cycles, and that money supply growth should be maintained at a moderate and predictable
rate to support the growth of real GDP.
Austrian-school economists believe business cycles are initiated by government intervention
that drives interest rates to artificially low levels.
Real business cycle theory holds that business cycles can be explained by utility-maximizing
actors responding to real economic forces such as external shocks and changes in technology,
and that policymakers should not intervene in business cycles.
LOS 15.d
Frictional unemployment results from the time it takes for employers looking to fill jobs and
employees seeking those jobs to find each other. Structural unemployment results from longterm economic changes that require workers to learn new skills to fill available jobs. Cyclical
unemployment is positive (negative) when the economy is producing less (more) than its
potential real GDP.
A person is considered unemployed if he is not working, is available for work, and is actively
seeking work. The labor force includes all people who are either employed or unemployed.
The unemployment rate is the percentage of labor force participants who are unemployed.
LOS 15.e
Inflation is a persistent increase in the price level over time. An inflation rate is a percentage
increase in the price level from one period to the next.
Disinflation is a decrease in the inflation rate over time. Deflation refers to a persistent
decrease in the price level (i.e., a negative inflation rate).
LOS 15.f
A price index measures the cost of a specific basket of goods and services relative to its cost
in a prior (base) period. The inflation rate is most often calculated as the annual percentage
change in a price index.
The most widely followed price index is the consumer price index (CPI), which is based on
the purchasing patterns of a typical household. The GDP deflator and the producer or
wholesale price index are also used as measures of inflation.
Headline inflation is a percentage change in a price index for all goods. Core inflation is
calculated by excluding food and energy prices from a price index because of their high
short-term volatility.
LOS 15.g
A Laspeyres price index is based on the cost of a specific basket of goods and services that
represents actual consumption in a base period. New goods, quality improvements, and
consumers’ substitution of lower-priced goods for higher-priced goods over time cause a
Laspeyres index to be biased upward.
A Paasche price index uses current consumption weights for the basket of goods and services
for both periods and thereby reduces substitution bias. A Fisher price index is the geometric
mean of a Laspeyres and a Paasche index.
LOS 15.h
Cost-push inflation results from a decrease in aggregate supply caused by an increase in the
real price of an important factor of production, such as labor or energy.
Demand-pull inflation results from persistent increases in aggregate demand that increase the
price level and temporarily increase economic output above its potential or full-employment
level.
The non-accelerating inflation rate of unemployment (NAIRU) represents the unemployment
rate below which upward pressure on wages is likely to develop.
Wage demands reflect inflation expectations.
LOS 15.i
Leading indicators have turning points that tend to precede those of the business cycle.
Coincident indicators have turning points that tend to coincide with those of the business
cycle.
Lagging indicators have turning points that tend to occur after those of the business cycle.
A limitation of using economic indicators to predict business cycles is that their relationships
with the business cycle are inexact and can vary over time.
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 15.1
1. C Early in an expansion, inventory-sales ratios typically decrease below their normal
levels as accelerating sales draw down inventories of produced goods. (LOS 15.b)
2. A An economic contraction is likely to feature increasing unemployment
(i.e., decreasing employment), along with declining economic output and decreasing
inflation pressure. (LOS 15.a)
3. A Keynesian school economists recommend monetary or fiscal policy action to
stimulate aggregate demand and restore full employment. Monetarists believe the rate
of money supply growth should be kept stable and predictable. The New Classical
school recommends against monetary or fiscal policy intervention because recessions
reflect individuals’ and firms’ utility-maximizing response to real factors in the
economy. (LOS 15.c)
Module Quiz 15.2
1. A The unemployment rate is the number of unemployed as a percentage of the labor
force. (LOS 15.d)
2. B The yearly inflation rate is as follows:
Year 2 (114.2 – 106.5) / 106.5 = 7.2%
Year 3 (119.9 – 114.2) / 114.2 = 5.0%
Year 4 (124.8 – 119.9) / 119.9 = 4.1%
Year 5 (128.1 – 124.8) / 124.8 = 2.6%
The inflation rate is decreasing, but the price level is still increasing. This is best
described as disinflation. (LOS 15.e)
3. C Core inflation is measured using a price index that excludes food and energy
prices. (LOS 15.f)
4. C Adopting a chained price index method addresses substitution bias, as does using a
Paasche index. Hedonic pricing adjusts for improvements in the quality of products
over time, not substitution bias. (LOS 15.g)
5. C Both inflation scenarios can involve a decrease in short-run aggregate supply due
to increasing wage demands. In a wage-push scenario, which is a form of cost-push
inflation, the decrease in aggregate supply causes real GDP to fall below full
employment. In a demand-pull inflation scenario, an increase in aggregate demand
causes real GDP to increase beyond full employment, which creates wage pressure that
results in a decrease in short-run aggregate supply. (LOS 15.h)
6. A Lagging indicators have turning points that occur after business cycle turning
points. (LOS 15.i)
1. In the United States, the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts people as unemployed “if they do not have a job,
have actively looked for work in the prior 4 weeks, and are currently available for work. Persons who were not
working and were waiting to be recalled to a job from which they had been temporarily laid off are also
included as unemployed.” (http://www.bls.gov/cps/lfcharacteristics.htm#unemp)
The following is a review of the Economics (2) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #16.
READING 16: MONETARY AND FISCAL
POLICY
Study Session 5
EXAM FOCUS
This topic review covers the supply and demand for money, as well as fiscal and monetary
policy. This is a lot of material, but you really need to get it all down to be prepared for the
exam. Concentrate initially on all the definitions and the basics of expansionary and
contractionary fiscal and monetary policy. When you read it the second time, try to
understand every cause-and-effect relationship so you can trace the effects of a policy change
through the economy. In this way, you will be able to answer questions about the effect of,
for example, open market purchases of securities by the central bank on interest rates,
consumption, saving, private investment, and, of course, real GDP in the short and long run.
You should understand the role of the central bank in a developed economy, including its
limitations in achieving its stated objectives.
MODULE 16.1: MONEY AND INFLATION
LOS 16.a: Compare monetary and fiscal policy.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 261
Video covering
this content is
available online.
Fiscal policy refers to a government’s use of spending and taxation to influence economic
activity. The budget is said to be balanced when tax revenues equal government
expenditures. A budget surplus occurs when government tax revenues exceed expenditures,
and a budget deficit occurs when government expenditures exceed tax revenues.
Monetary policy refers to the central bank’s actions that affect the quantity of money and
credit in an economy in order to influence economic activity. Monetary policy is said to be
expansionary (or accommodative or easy) when the central bank increases the quantity of
money and credit in an economy. Conversely, when the central bank is reducing the quantity
of money and credit in an economy, the monetary policy is said to be contractionary (or
restrictive or tight).
Both monetary and fiscal policies are used by policymakers with the goals of maintaining
stable prices and producing positive economic growth. Fiscal policy can also be used as a tool
for redistribution of income and wealth.
LOS 16.b: Describe functions and definitions of money.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 262
Money is most commonly defined as a generally accepted medium of exchange. Rather than
exchanging goods and services directly (bartering), using money facilitates indirect exchange.
Money has three primary functions:
Money serves as a medium of exchange or means of payment because it is accepted
as payment for goods and services.
Money also serves as a unit of account because prices of all goods and services are
expressed in units of money: dollars, yen, rupees, pesos, and so forth. This allows us to
determine how much of any good we are foregoing when consuming another.
Money provides a store of value because money received for work or goods now can
be saved to purchase goods later.
Narrow money is the amount of notes (currency) and coins in circulation in an economy plus
balances in checkable bank deposits. Broad money includes narrow money plus any amount
available in liquid assets, which can be used to make purchases.
Measures of money differ among monetary authorities, but there is consistency in that broad
measures of money include money that is less liquid (immediately spendable) than that
included in narrow money measures. We have included definitions of narrow and broad
monetary aggregates used by the U.S. Federal Reserve and by the European Central Bank as
examples.
According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:
The money supply measures reflect the different degrees of liquidity—or spendability—
that different types of money have. The narrowest measure, M1, is restricted to the most
liquid forms of money; it consists of currency in the hands of the public; travelers
checks; demand deposits, and other deposits against which checks can be written. M2
includes M1, plus savings accounts, time deposits of under $100,000, and balances in
retail money market mutual funds.
The European Central Bank describes their monetary aggregates as follows:
M1
M2
M3
Currency in circulation
X
X
X
Overnight deposits
X
X
X
Deposits with an agreed maturity of up to 2 years
X
X
Deposits redeemable at notice of up to 3 months
X
X
Repurchase agreements
X
Money market fund shares/units
X
Debt securities issued with a maturity of up to 2 years
X
LOS 16.c: Explain the money creation process.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 264
In the early stages of money development, promissory notes were developed. When
customers deposited gold (or other precious metal) with early bankers, they were issued a
promissory note, which was a promise by the banker to return that gold on demand from the
depositor. Promissory notes themselves then became a medium of exchange. Bankers,
recognizing that all the deposits would never be withdrawn at the same time, started lending a
portion of deposits to earn interest. This led to what is called fractional reserve banking.
In a fractional reserve banking system, a bank holds a proportion of deposits in reserve. In
most countries, banks are required to hold a minimum percentage of deposits as reserves.
When cash is deposited in a bank, the portion that is not required to be held in reserve can be
loaned out. When a bank makes a cash loan and the borrower spends the money, the sellers
who receive this cash may deposit it in banks as well. These funds can now be loaned out by
these banks, except for the portion that must be held as reserves by each bank. This process of
lending, spending, and depositing can continue until deposits are some multiple of the
original cash amount.
Consider a bank that has $1,000 in excess reserves (cash not needed for reserves) that it
lends. Assume the required reserve ratio is 25%. If the borrower of the $1,000 deposits the
cash in a second bank, the second bank will be able to lend its excess reserves of $750 (0.75 ×
$1,000). Those funds may be deposited in a third bank, which can then lend its excess reserve
of $563 (0.75 × $750). If this lending and depositing continues, the money supply can expand
to $4,000 [(1 / 0.25) × $1,000]. One dollar of excess reserves can generate a $4 increase in
the money supply.
The total amount of money that can be created is calculated as:
money created =
new deposit
reserve requirement
=
1,000
0.25
= $4,000
With 25% of deposits held as reserves, the original deposit can result in total deposits four
times as large, and we say that the money multiplier is four.
money multiplier =
1
reserve requirement
=
1
0.25
=4
If the required reserve percentage is decreased, the money multiplier increases, and the
quantity of money that can be created increases. If the reserve requirement was reduced from
25% to 10%, the money multiplier would increase from 4 to 10.
Relationship of Money and the Price Level
The quantity theory of money states that quantity of money is some proportion of the total
spending in an economy and implies the quantity equation of exchange:
money supply × velocity = price × real output (MV = PY)
Price multiplied by real output is total spending so that velocity is the average number of
times per year each unit of money is used to buy goods or services. The equation of exchange
must hold with velocity defined in this way.
Monetarists believe that velocity and the real output of the economy change only slowly.
Assuming that velocity and real output remain constant, any increase in the money supply
will lead to a proportionate increase in the price level. For example, a 5% increase in the
money supply will increase average prices by 5%. For this reason, monetarists argue that
monetary policy can be used to control and regulate inflation. The belief that real variables
(real GDP and velocity) are not affected by monetary variables (money supply and prices) is
referred to as money neutrality.
LOS 16.d: Describe theories of the demand for and supply of money.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 269
The amount of wealth that households and firms in an economy choose to hold in the form of
money is known as demand for money. There are three reasons for holding money:
1. Transaction demand: Money held to meet the need for undertaking transactions. As the
level of real GDP increases, the size and number of transactions will increase, and the
demand for money to carry out transactions increases.
2. Precautionary demand: Money held for unforeseen future needs. The demand for
money for precautionary reasons is higher for large firms. In the aggregate, the total
amount of precautionary demand for money increases with the size of the economy.
3. Speculative demand: Money that is available to take advantage of investment
opportunities that arise in the future. It is inversely related to returns available in the
market. As bonds and other financial instruments provide higher returns, investors
would rather invest their money now than hold speculative money balances.
Conversely, the demand for money for speculative reasons is positively related to
perceived risk in other financial instruments. If the risk is perceived to be higher,
people choose to hold money rather than invest it.
The relation between short-term interest rates and the quantity of money that firms and
households demand to hold is illustrated in Figure 16.1. At lower interest rates, firms and
households choose to hold more money. At higher interest rates, the opportunity cost of
holding money increases, and firms and households will desire to hold less money and more
interest-bearing financial assets.
Figure 16.1: The Supply and Demand for Money
The supply of money is determined by the central bank (the Fed in the United States) and is
independent of the interest rate. This accounts for the vertical (perfectly inelastic) supply
curve in Figure 16.1.
Short-term interest rates are determined by the equilibrium between money supply and
money demand. As illustrated in Figure 16.1, if the interest rate is above the equilibrium rate
(ihigh), there is excess supply of real money. Firms and households are holding more real
money balances than they desire to, given the opportunity cost of holding money balances.
They will purchase securities to reduce their money balances, which will decrease the interest
rate as securities prices are bid up. If interest rates are below equilibrium (ilow), there is
excess demand for real money balances, as illustrated in Figure 16.1. Firms and households
will sell securities to increase their money holdings to the desired level, decreasing securities
prices and increasing the interest rate.
A central bank can affect short-term interest rates by increasing or decreasing the money
supply. An increase in the money supply (shift of the money supply curve to the right) will
put downward pressure on interest rates, as illustrated in Figure 16.2. With an increase in the
money supply, there is excess supply of money at the previous rate of 5%. To reduce their
money holdings, firms and households buy securities, increasing securities prices and
decreasing the interest rate until the new equilibrium interest rate of 4% is achieved. If the
central bank decreases the money supply, excess demand for money balances results in sales
of securities and an increase in the interest rate.
Figure 16.2: Increase in the Money Supply
LOS 16.e: Describe the Fisher effect.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 272
The Fisher effect states that the nominal interest rate is simply the sum of the real interest
rate and expected inflation.
RNom = RReal + E[I]
where:
RNom = nominal interest rate
RReal = real interest rate
E[I] = expected inflation
The idea behind the Fisher effect is that real rates are relatively stable, and changes in interest
rates are driven by changes in expected inflation. This is consistent with money neutrality.
Investors are exposed to the risk that inflation and other future outcomes may be different
than expected. Investors require additional return (a risk premium) for bearing this risk,
which we can consider a third component of a nominal interest rate.
RNom = RReal + E[I] + RP
where:
RP = risk premium for uncertainty
LOS 16.f: Describe roles and objectives of central banks.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 275
There are several key roles of central banks:
1. Sole supplier of currency: Central banks have the sole authority to supply money.
Traditionally, such money was backed by gold; the central bank stood ready to convert
the money into a pre-specified quantity of gold. Later on, the gold backing was
removed, and money supplied by the central bank was deemed legal tender by law.
Money not backed by any tangible value is termed fiat money. As long as fiat money
holds its value over time and is acceptable for transactions, it can continue to serve as a
medium of exchange.
2. Banker to the government and other banks: Central banks provide banking services to
the government and other banks in the economy.
3. Regulator and supervisor of payments system: In many countries, central banks may
regulate the banking system by imposing standards of risk-taking allowed and reserve
requirements of banks under its jurisdiction. Central banks also oversee the payments
system to ensure smooth operations of the clearing system domestically and in
conjunction with other central banks for international transactions.
4. Lender of last resort: Central banks’ ability to print money allows them to supply
money to banks with shortages, and this government backing tends to prevent runs on
banks (i.e., large scale withdrawals) by assuring depositors their funds are secure.
5. Holder of gold and foreign exchange reserves: Central banks are often the repositories
of the nation’s gold and reserves of foreign currencies.
6. Conductor of monetary policy: Central banks control or influence the quantity of
money supplied in an economy and growth of money supply over time.
The primary objective of a central bank is to control inflation so as to promote price
stability. High inflation is not conducive to a stable economic environment. High inflation
leads to menu costs (i.e., cost to businesses of constantly having to change their prices) and
shoe leather costs (i.e., costs to individuals of making frequent trips to the bank so as to
minimize their holdings of cash that are depreciating in value due to inflation).
In addition to price stability, some central banks have other stated goals, such as:
Stability in exchange rates with foreign currencies.
Full employment.
Sustainable positive economic growth.
Moderate long-term interest rates.
The target inflation rate in most developed countries is a range around 2% to 3%. A target of
zero inflation is not used because that increases the risk of deflation, which can be very
disruptive for an economy.
While most developed countries have an explicit target inflation rate, the U.S. Fed and the
Bank of Japan do not. In the United States, this is because the Fed has the additional goals of
maximum employment and moderate long-term interest rates. In Japan, it is because
deflation, rather than inflation, has been a persistent problem in recent years.
Some developed countries, and several developing countries, choose a target level for the
exchange rate of their currency with that of another country, primarily the U.S. dollar. This is
referred to as pegging their exchange rate with the dollar. If their currency appreciates
(i.e., becomes relatively more valuable), they can sell their domestic currency reserves for
dollars to reduce the exchange rate. While such actions may be effective in the short run, for
stability of the exchange rate over time, the monetary authorities in the pegging country must
manage interest rates and economic activity to achieve their goal. This can lead to increased
volatility of their money supply and interest rates. The pegging country essentially commits
to a policy intended to make its inflation rate equal to the inflation rate of the country to
which they peg their currency.
LOS 16.g: Contrast the costs of expected and unexpected inflation.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 279
We turn our attention now to the costs to an economy of inflation, why central banks’ target
inflation rates are low, and why they care about volatility of inflation rates. At any point in
time, economic agents have an expected rate of future inflation in the aggregate. The costs of
inflation that is equal to the expected rate are different from the costs of inflation that differs
from expectations, with the costs imposed on an economy of unanticipated inflation greater
than those of perfectly anticipated inflation.
Consider an economy for which expected inflation is 6% and actual inflation will be 6% with
certainty, so that inflation is perfectly anticipated (i.e., there is no unexpected inflation). The
prices of all goods and wages could be indexed to this inflation rate so each month both
wages and prices are increased approximately one-half percent. Increased demand for a
product would result in monthly price increases of more than one-half percent and decreased
demand would be reflected in prices that increased less than one-half percent per month.
One effect of high inflation—even when perfectly anticipated—is that the cost of holding
money rather than interest-bearing securities is higher because its purchasing power decreases
steadily. This will decrease the quantity of money that people willingly hold and impose
some costs of more frequent movement of money from interest-bearing securities to cash or
non-interest-bearing deposit accounts to facilitate transactions. To some extent, technology
and the Internet have decreased these costs as movement of money between accounts has
become much easier.
Much more important are the costs imposed on an economy by unanticipated inflation,
inflation that is higher or lower than the expected rate of inflation. When inflation is higher
than expected, borrowers gain at the expense of lenders as loan payments in the future are
made with currency that has less value in real terms. Conversely, inflation that is less than
expected will benefit lenders at the expense of borrowers. In an economy with volatile (rather
than certain) inflation rates, lenders will require higher interest rates to compensate for the
additional risk they face from unexpected changes in inflation. Higher borrowing rates slow
business investment and reduce the level of economic activity.
A second cost of unexpected inflation is that information about supply and demand from
changes in prices becomes less reliable. Suppose that when expected inflation is 5%, a
manufacturer sees that prices for his product have increased 10%. If this is interpreted as an
increase in demand for the product, the manufacturer will increase capacity and production in
response to the perceived increase in demand. If, in fact, general price inflation is 10% rather
than the expected 5% over the recent period, the price increase in the manufacturer’s product
did not result from an increase in demand. The expansion of production will result in excess
inventory and capacity, and the firm will decrease production, laying off workers and
reducing or eliminating expenditures on increased capacity for some time. Because of these
effects, unexpected inflation can increase the magnitude or frequency of business cycles. The
destabilizing effects of inflation, either higher than expected or lower than expected, because
of reduced information content of price changes impose real costs on an economy.
MODULE QUIZ 16.1
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1. Both monetary and fiscal policy are used to:
A. balance the budget.
B. achieve economic targets.
C. redistribute income and wealth.
2. Which of the following statements is least accurate? The existence and use of money:
A. permits individuals to perform economic transactions.
B. requires the central bank to control the supply of currency.
C. increases the efficiency of transactions compared to a barter system.
3. If money neutrality holds, the effect of an increase in the money supply is:
A. higher prices.
B. higher output.
C. lower unemployment.
4. If the money supply is increasing and velocity is decreasing:
A. prices will decrease.
B. real GDP will increase.
C. the impact on prices and real GDP is uncertain.
5. The money supply curve is perfectly inelastic because the money:
A. supply is independent of interest rates.
B. demand schedule is downward-sloping.
C. supply is dependent upon interest rates.
6. The Fisher effect states that the nominal interest rate is equal to the real rate plus:
A. actual inflation.
B. average inflation.
C. expected inflation.
7. A central bank’s policy goals least likely include:
A. price stability.
B. minimizing long-term interest rates.
C. maximizing the sustainable growth rate of the economy.
8. A country that targets a stable exchange rate with another country’s currency least likely:
A. accepts the inflation rate of the other country.
B. will sell its currency if its foreign exchange value rises.
C. must also match the money supply growth rate of the other country.
MODULE 16.2: MONETARY POLICY
LOS 16.h: Describe tools used to implement monetary policy.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 281
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Monetary policy is implemented using the monetary policy tools of the
central bank. The three main policy tools of central banks are as follows:
1. Policy rate: In the United States, banks can borrow funds from the Fed if they have
temporary shortfalls in reserves. The rate at which banks can borrow reserves from the
Fed is termed the discount rate. For the European Central Bank (ECB), it is called the
refinancing rate.
One way to lend money to banks is through a repurchase agreement. The central bank
purchases securities from banks that, in turn, agree to repurchase the securities at a
higher price in the future. The percentage difference between the purchase price and
the repurchase price is effectively the rate at which the central bank is lending to
member banks. The Bank of England uses this method, and its policy rate is called the
two-week repo (repurchase) rate. A lower rate reduces banks’ cost of funds,
encourages lending, and tends to decrease interest rates overall. A higher policy rate
has the opposite effect, decreasing lending and increasing interest rates.
In the United States, the federal funds rate is the rate that banks charge each other on
overnight loans of reserves. The Fed sets a target for this market-determined rate and
uses open market operations to move it to the target rate.
2. Reserve requirements: By increasing the reserve requirement (the percentage of
deposits banks are required to retain as reserves), the central bank effectively decreases
the funds that are available for lending and the money supply, which will tend to
increase interest rates. A decrease in the reserve requirement will increase the funds
available for lending and the money supply, which will tend to decrease interest rates.
This tool only works well to increase the money supply if banks are willing to lend and
customers are willing to borrow.
3. Open market operations: Buying and selling of securities by the central bank is referred
to as open market operations. When the central bank buys securities, cash replaces
securities in investor accounts, banks have excess reserves, more funds are available
for lending, the money supply increases, and interest rates decrease. Sales of securities
by the central bank have the opposite effect, reducing cash in investor accounts, excess
reserves, funds available for lending, and the money supply, which will tend to cause
interest rates to increase. In the United States, open market operations are the Fed’s
most commonly used tool and are important in achieving the federal funds target rate.
LOS 16.i: Describe the monetary transmission mechanism.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 283
The monetary transmission mechanism refers to the ways in which a change in monetary
policy, specifically the central bank’s policy rate, affects the price level and inflation. There
are four channels through which a change in the policy rates the monetary authorities control
directly are transmitted to prices. They are transmitted through their effect on other shortterm rates, asset values, currency exchange rates, and expectations. We can examine the
transmission mechanism in more detail by considering the effects of a change to a
contractionary monetary policy implemented through an increase in the policy rate.
Banks’ short-term lending rates will increase in line with the increase in the policy
rate. The higher rates will decrease aggregate demand as consumers reduce credit
purchases and businesses cut back on investment in new projects.
Bond prices, equity prices, and asset prices in general will decrease as the discount
rates applied to future expected cash flows are increased. This may have a wealth effect
because a decrease in the value of households’ assets may increase the savings rate and
decrease consumption.
Both consumers and businesses may decrease their expenditures because their
expectations for future economic growth decrease.
The increase in interest rates may attract foreign investment in debt securities, leading
to an appreciation of the domestic currency relative to foreign currencies. An
appreciation of the domestic currency increases the foreign currency prices of exports
and can reduce demand for the country’s export goods.
Taken together, these effects act to decrease aggregate demand and put downward pressure
on the price level. A decrease in the policy rate would affect the price level through the same
channels, but in the opposite direction.
LOS 16.j: Describe qualities of effective central banks.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 286
For a central bank to succeed in its inflation-targeting policies, it should have three essential
qualities:
1. Independence: For a central bank to be effective in achieving its goals, it should be free
from political interference. Reducing the money supply to reduce inflation can also be
expected to decrease economic growth and employment. The political party in power
has an incentive to boost economic activity and reduce unemployment prior to
elections. For this reason, politicians may interfere with the central bank’s activities,
compromising its ability to manage inflation. Independence should be thought of in
relative terms (degrees of independence) rather than absolute terms. Even in the case of
relatively independent central banks, the heads of the banks may be appointed by
politicians.
Independence can be evaluated based on both operational independence and target
independence. Operational independence means that the central bank is allowed to
independently determine the policy rate. Target independence means the central bank
also defines how inflation is computed, sets the target inflation level, and determines
the horizon over which the target is to be achieved. The ECB has both target and
operational independence, while most other central banks have only operational
independence.
2. Credibility: To be effective, central banks should follow through on their stated
intentions. If a government with large debts, instead of a central bank, set an inflation
target, the target would not be credible because the government has an incentive to
allow inflation to exceed the target level. On the other hand, a credible central bank’s
targets can become self-fulfilling prophecies. If the market believes that a central bank
is serious about achieving a target inflation rate of 3%, wages and other nominal
contracts will be based on 3% inflation, and actual inflation will then be close to that
level.
3. Transparency: Transparency on the part of central banks aids their credibility.
Transparency means central banks periodically disclose the state of the economic
environment by issuing inflation reports. Transparent central banks periodically report
their views on the economic indicators and other factors they consider in their interest
rate setting policy. When a central bank makes clear the economic indicators that it
uses in establishing monetary policy and how they will be used, it not only gains
credibility but makes policy changes easier to anticipate and implement.
LOS 16.k: Explain the relationships between monetary policy and economic growth,
inflation, interest, and exchange rates.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 283
If money neutrality holds, changes in monetary policy and the policy rate will have no effect
on real output. In the short run, however, changes in monetary policy can affect real
economic growth as well as interest rates, inflation, and foreign exchange rates. The effects of
a change to a more expansionary monetary policy may include any or all of the following:
The central bank buys securities, which increases bank reserves.
The interbank lending rate decreases as banks are more willing to lend each other
reserves.
Other short-term rates decrease as the increase in the supply of loanable funds
decreases the equilibrium rate for loans.
Longer-term interest rates also decrease.
The decrease in real interest rates causes the currency to depreciate in the foreign
exchange market.
The decrease in long-term interest rates increases business investment in plant and
equipment.
Lower interest rates cause consumers to increase their purchases of houses, autos, and
durable goods.
Depreciation of the currency increases foreign demand for domestic goods.
These increases in consumption, investment, and net exports all increase aggregate
demand.
The increase in aggregate demand increases inflation, employment, and real GDP.
The transmission mechanism for a decrease in interbank lending rates affects four things
simultaneously:
1. Market rates decrease due to banks adjusting their lending rates for the short and long
term.
2. Asset prices increase because lower discount rates are used for computing present
values.
3. Firms and individuals raise their expectations for economic growth and profitability.
They may also expect the central bank to follow up with further interest rate decreases.
4. The domestic currency depreciates due to an outflow of foreign money as real interest
rates decline.
Together, these four factors increase domestic demand as people consume more (they have
less incentive to save given lower interest rates) and increase net external demand (exports
minus imports) because depreciation of the domestic currency makes exports less expensive
to foreigners and imports more expensive in the domestic economy. The increase in overall
demand and import prices tends to increase aggregate demand and domestic inflation.
LOS 16.l: Contrast the use of inflation, interest rate, and exchange rate targeting by
central banks.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 285
Central banks have used various economic variables and indicators over the years to make
monetary policy decisions. In the past, some have used interest rate targeting, increasing
the money supply when specific interest rates rose above the target band and decreasing the
money supply (or the rate of money supply growth) when rates fell below the target band.
Currently, inflation targeting is the most widely used tool for making monetary policy
decisions and is, in fact, the method required by law in some countries. Central banks that
currently use inflation targeting include the U.K., Brazil, Canada, Australia, Mexico, and the
European Central Bank.
The most common inflation rate target is 2%, with a permitted deviation of ±1% so the target
band is 1% to 3%. The reason the inflation target is not 0% is that variations around that rate
would allow for negative inflation (i.e., deflation), which is considered disruptive to the
smooth functioning of an economy. Central banks are not necessarily targeting current
inflation, which is the result of prior policy and events, but inflation in the range of two years
in the future.
Some countries, especially developing countries, use exchange rate targeting. That is, they
target a foreign exchange rate between their currency and another (often the U.S. dollar),
rather than targeting inflation. As an example, consider a country that has targeted an
exchange rate for its currency versus the U.S. dollar. If the foreign exchange value of the
domestic currency falls relative to the U.S. dollar, the monetary authority must use foreign
reserves to purchase their domestic currency (which will reduce money supply growth and
increase interest rates) in order to reach the target exchange rate. Conversely, an increase in
the foreign exchange value of the domestic currency above the target rate will require sale of
the domestic currency in currency markets to reduce its value (increasing the domestic money
supply and decreasing interest rates) to move towards the target exchange rate. One result of
exchange rate targeting may be greater volatility of the money supply because domestic
monetary policy must adapt to the necessity of maintaining a stable foreign exchange rate.
Over the short term, the targeting country can purchase or sell its currency in the foreign
exchange markets to influence the exchange rate. There are limits, however, on how much
influence currency purchases or sales can have on exchange rates over time. For example, a
country may run out of foreign reserves with which to purchase its currency when the
exchange value of its currency is still below the target exchange rate.
The net effect of exchange rate targeting is that the targeting country will have the same
inflation rate as the targeted currency and the targeting country will need to follow monetary
policy and accept interest rates that are consistent with this goal, regardless of domestic
economic circumstances.
LOS 16.m: Determine whether a monetary policy is expansionary or contractionary.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 294
An economy’s long-term sustainable real growth rate is called the real trend rate or, simply,
the trend rate. The trend rate is not directly observable and must be estimated. The trend rate
also changes over time as structural conditions of the economy change. For example, after a
prolonged period of heavy debt use, consumers may increase saving and reduce consumption
in order to reduce their levels of debt. This structural shift in the economy would reduce the
trend growth rate.
The neutral interest rate of an economy is the growth rate of the money supply that neither
increases nor decreases the economic growth rate:
neutral interest rate = real trend rate of economic growth + inflation target
When the policy rate is above (below) the neutral rate, the monetary policy is said to be
contractionary (expansionary). In general, contractionary policy is associated with a
decrease in the growth rate of money supply, while expansionary policy increases its growth
rate.
Monetary policy is often adjusted to reflect the source of inflation. For example, if inflation is
above target due to higher aggregate demand (consumer and business spending), then
contractionary monetary policy may be an appropriate response to reduce inflation. Suppose,
however, that inflation is higher due to supply shocks, such as higher food or energy prices,
and the economy is already operating below full employment. In such a situation, a
contractionary monetary policy may make a bad situation worse.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
In the United States, the Federal Reserve focuses on core inflation (i.e., excluding volatile food and
energy prices) for this reason.
LOS 16.n: Describe limitations of monetary policy.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 295
This transmission mechanism for monetary policy previously described does not always
produce the intended results. In particular, long-term rates may not rise and fall with shortterm rates because of the effect of monetary policy changes on expected inflation.
If individuals and businesses believe that a decrease in the money supply intended to reduce
inflation will be successful, they will expect lower future inflation rates. Because long-term
bond yields include a premium for expected inflation, long-term rates could fall (tending to
increase economic growth), even while the central bank has increased short-term rates in
order to slow economic activity. Conversely, increasing the money supply to stimulate
economic activity could lead to an increase in expected inflation rates and long-term bond
yields, even as short-term rates fall.
From a different perspective, monetary tightening may be viewed as too extreme, increasing
the probability of a recession, making long-term bonds more attractive and reducing longterm interest rates. If money supply growth is seen as inflationary, higher expected future
asset prices will make long-term bonds relatively less attractive and will increase long-term
interest rates. Bond market participants that act in this way have been called bond market
vigilantes. When the central bank’s policy is credible and investors believe that the inflation
target rate will be maintained over time, this effect on long-term rates will be small.
Another situation in which the transmission mechanism may not perform as expected is if
demand for money becomes very elastic and individuals willingly hold more money even
without a decrease in short-term rates. Such a situation is called a liquidity trap. Increasing
growth of the money supply will not decrease short-term rates under these conditions because
individuals hold the money in cash balances instead of investing in interest-bearing securities.
If an economy is experiencing deflation even though money supply policy has been
expansionary, liquidity trap conditions may be present.
Compared to inflation, deflation is more difficult for central banks to reverse. In a
deflationary environment, monetary policy needs to be expansionary. However, the central
bank is limited to reducing the nominal policy rate to zero. Once it reaches zero, the central
bank has limited ability to further stimulate the economy.
Another reason standard tools for increasing the money supply might not increase economic
activity is that even with increasing excess reserves, banks may not be willing to lend. When
what has become known as the credit bubble collapsed in 2008, banks around the world lost
equity capital and desired to rebuild it. For this reason, they decreased their lending, even as
money supplies were increased and short-term rates fell. With short-term rates near zero,
economic growth still poor, and a real threat of deflation, central banks began a policy termed
quantitative easing.
In the United Kingdom, quantitative easing entailed large purchases of British government
bonds in the maturity range of three to five years. The intent was to reduce interest rates to
encourage borrowing and to generate excess reserves in the banking system to encourage
lending. Uncertainty about the economy’s future caused banks to behave quite conservatively
and willingly hold more excess reserves, rather than make loans.
In the United States, billions of dollars were made available for the Fed to buy assets other
than short-term Treasury securities. Large amounts of mortgage securities were purchased
from banks to encourage bank lending and to reduce mortgage rates in an attempt to revive
the housing market, which had collapsed. When this program did not have the desired effect,
a second round of quantitative easing (QE2) was initiated. The Fed purchased long-term
Treasury bonds in large quantities (hundreds of billions of dollars) with the goal of bringing
down longer-term interest rates and generating excess reserves to increase lending and
economic growth. The Fed has also purchased securities with credit risk as part of its
quantitative easing, improving banks’ balance sheets but perhaps just shifting risk from the
private sector to the public sector.
Monetary Policy in Developing Economies
Developing countries face problems in successfully implementing monetary policy. Without
a liquid market in their government debt interest rate, information may be distorted and open
market operations difficult to implement. In a very rapidly developing economy it may be
quite difficult to determine the neutral rate of interest for policy purposes. Rapid financial
innovation may change the demand to hold monetary aggregates. Central banks may lack
credibility because of past failure to maintain inflation rates in a target band and may not be
given independence by the political authority.
MODULE QUIZ 16.2
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1. A central bank conducts monetary policy primarily by altering:
A. the policy rate.
B. the inflation rate.
C. the long-term interest rate.
2. Purchases of securities in the open market by the monetary authorities are least likely to
increase:
A. excess reserves.
B. cash in investor accounts.
C. the interbank lending rate.
3. An increase in the policy rate will most likely lead to an increase in:
A. business investment in fixed assets.
B. consumer spending on durable goods.
C. the foreign exchange value of the domestic currency.
4. Qualities of effective central banks include:
A. credibility and verifiability.
B. comparability and relevance.
C. independence and transparency.
5. If a country’s inflation rate is below the central bank’s target rate, the central bank is most
likely to:
A. sell government securities.
B. increase the reserve requirement.
C. decrease the overnight lending rate.
6. Monetary policy is likely to be least responsive to domestic economic conditions if
policymakers employ:
A. inflation targeting.
B. interest rate targeting.
C. exchange rate targeting.
7. Suppose an economy has a real trend rate of 2%. The central bank has set an inflation
target of 4.5%. To achieve the target, the central bank has set the policy rate at 6%.
Monetary policy is most likely:
A. balanced.
B. expansionary.
C. contractionary.
8. Monetary policy is most likely to fail to achieve its objectives when the economy is:
A. growing rapidly.
B. experiencing deflation.
C. experiencing disinflation.
MODULE 16.3: FISCAL POLICY
LOS 16.o: Describe roles and objectives of fiscal policy.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 300
Fiscal policy refers to a government’s use of spending and taxation to meet macroeconomic
goals. A government budget is said to be balanced when tax revenues equal government
expenditures. A budget surplus occurs when government tax revenues exceed expenditures,
and a budget deficit occurs when government expenditures exceed tax revenues.
In general, decreased taxes and increased government spending both increase a budget
deficit, overall demand, economic growth, and employment. Increased taxes and decreased
government spending decrease a budget deficit, overall demand, economic growth, and
employment. Budget deficits are increased in response to recessions, and budget deficits are
decreased to slow growth when inflation is too high.
Keynesian economists believe that fiscal policy, through its effect on aggregate demand, can
have a strong effect on economic growth when the economy is operating at less than full
employment. Monetarists believe that the effect of fiscal stimulus is only temporary and that
monetary policy should be used to increase or decrease inflationary pressures over time.
Monetarists do not believe that monetary policy should be used in an attempt to influence
aggregate demand to counter cyclical movements in the economy.
Discretionary fiscal policy refers to the spending and taxing decisions of a national
government that are intended to stabilize the economy. In contrast, automatic stabilizers are
built-in fiscal devices triggered by the state of the economy. For example, during a recession,
tax receipts will fall, and government expenditures on unemployment insurance payments
will increase. Both of these tend to increase budget deficits and are expansionary. Similarly,
during boom times, higher tax revenues coupled with lower outflows for social programs tend
to decrease budget deficits and are contractionary.
Objectives of fiscal policy may include:
Influencing the level of economic activity and aggregate demand.
Redistributing wealth and income among segments of the population.
Allocating resources among economic agents and sectors in the economy.
LOS 16.p: Describe tools of fiscal policy, including their advantages and disadvantages.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 309
Fiscal policy tools include spending tools and revenue tools.
Spending Tools
Transfer payments, also known as entitlement programs, redistribute wealth, taxing some
and making payments to others. Examples include Social Security and unemployment
insurance benefits. Transfer payments are not included in GDP computations.
Current spending refers to government purchases of goods and services on an ongoing and
routine basis.
Capital spending refers to government spending on infrastructure, such as roads, schools,
bridges, and hospitals. Capital spending is expected to boost future productivity of the
economy.
Justification for spending tools:
Provide services such as national defense that benefit all the residents in a country.
Invest in infrastructure to enhance economic growth.
Support the country’s growth and unemployment targets by directly affecting aggregate
demand.
Provide a minimum standard of living.
Subsidize investment in research and development for certain high-risk ventures
consistent with future economic growth or other goals (e.g., green technology).
Revenue Tools
Direct taxes are levied on income or wealth. These include income taxes, taxes on income
for national insurance, wealth taxes, estate taxes, corporate taxes, capital gains taxes, and
Social Security taxes. Some progressive taxes (such as income and wealth taxes) generate
revenue for wealth and income redistributing.
Indirect taxes are levied on goods and services. These include sales taxes, value-added taxes
(VATs), and excise taxes. Indirect taxes can be used to reduce consumption of some goods
and services (e.g., alcohol, tobacco, gambling).
Desirable attributes of tax policy:
Simplicity to use and enforce.
Efficiency; having the least interference with market forces and not acting as a
deterrent to working.
Fairness is quite subjective, but two commonly held beliefs are:
Horizontal equality: people in similar situations should pay similar taxes.
Vertical equality: richer people should pay more in taxes.
Sufficiency, in that taxes should generate sufficient revenues to meet the spending
needs of the government.
Advantages of fiscal policy tools:
Social policies, such as discouraging tobacco use, can be implemented very quickly via
indirect taxes.
Quick implementation of indirect taxes also means that government revenues can be
increased without significant additional costs.
Disadvantages of fiscal policy tools:
Direct taxes and transfer payments take time to implement, delaying the impact of
fiscal policy.
Capital spending also takes a long time to implement. The economy may have
recovered by the time its impact is felt.
Announcing a change in fiscal policy may have significant effects on expectations. For
example, an announcement of future increase in taxes may immediately reduce current
consumption, rapidly producing the desired goal of reducing aggregate demand. Note that not
all fiscal policy tools affect economic activity equally. Spending tools are most effective in
increasing aggregate demand. Tax reductions are somewhat less effective, as people may not
spend the entire amount of the tax savings. Tax reductions for those with low incomes will be
more effective in increasing aggregate demand, as those with lower incomes tend to spend a
larger proportion of income on consumption; that is, they save a smaller proportion of income
and have a higher marginal propensity to consume.
Fiscal Multiplier
Changes in government spending have magnified effects on aggregate demand because those
whose incomes increase from increased government spending will in turn increase their
spending, which increases the incomes and spending of others. The magnitude of the
multiplier effect depends on the tax rate and on the marginal propensity to consume.
To understand the calculation of the multiplier effect, consider an increase in government
spending of $100 when the MPC is 80%, and the tax rate is 25%. The increase in spending
increases incomes by $100, but $25 (100 × 0.25) of that will be paid in taxes. Disposable
income is equal to income after taxes, so disposable income increases by $100 × (1 – 0.25) =
$75. With an MPC of 80%, additional spending by those who receive the original $100
increase is $75 × 0.8 = $60.
This additional spending will increase others’ incomes by $60 and disposable incomes by $60
× 0.75 = $45, from which they will spend $45 × 0.8 = $36.
Because each iteration of this process reduces the amount of additional spending, the effect
reaches a limit. The fiscal multiplier determines the potential increase in aggregate demand
resulting from an increase in government spending:
fiscal multiplier =
1
1−MPC(1−t)
Here, with a tax rate of 25% and an MPC of 80%, the fiscal multiplier is 1 / [1 – 0.8(1 –
0.25)] = 2.5, and the increase of $100 in government spending has the potential to increase
aggregate demand by $250.
The fiscal multiplier is inversely related to the tax rate (higher tax rate decreases the
multiplier) and directly related to the marginal propensity to consume (higher MPC increases
the multiplier).
Balanced Budget Multiplier
In order to balance the budget, the government could increase taxes by $100 to just offset a
$100 increase in spending. Changes in taxes also have a magnified effect on aggregate
demand. An increase in taxes will decrease disposable income and consumption expenditures,
thereby decreasing aggregate demand. The initial decrease in spending from a tax increase of
$100 is 100 × MPC = 100 × 0.8 = $80; beyond that, the multiplier effect is the same as we
described for a direct increase in government spending, and the overall decrease in aggregate
demand for a $100 tax increase is 100(MPC) × fiscal multiplier, or, for our example, 100(0.8)
(2.5) = $200.
Combining the total increase in aggregate demand from a $100 increase in government
spending with the total decrease in aggregate demand from a $100 tax increase shows that the
net effect on aggregate demand of both is an increase of $250 – $200 = $50, so we can say
that the balanced budget multiplier is positive.
If instead of a $100 increase in taxes, we increased taxes by 100 / MPC = 100 / 0.8 = $125
and increased government spending by $100, the net effect on aggregate demand would be
zero.
Ricardian Equivalence
Increases in the current deficit mean greater taxes in the future. To maintain their preferred
pattern of consumption over time, taxpayers may increase current savings (reduce current
consumption) in order to offset the expected cost of higher future taxes. If taxpayers reduce
current consumption and increase current saving by just enough to repay the principal and
interest on the debt the government issued to fund the increased deficit, there is no effect on
aggregate demand. This is known as Ricardian equivalence after economist David Ricardo.
If taxpayers underestimate their future liability for servicing and repaying the debt, so that
aggregate demand is increased by equal spending and tax increases, Ricardian equivalence
does not hold. Whether it does is an open question.
LOS 16.q: Describe the arguments about whether the size of a national debt relative to
GDP matters.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 305
When a government runs fiscal deficits, it incurs debt that needs to be repaid as well as
ongoing interest expense. Total deficits, annual deficits, and interest expense can all be
evaluated relative to annual GDP. When these ratios increase beyond certain levels, it may be
a cause for concern, and the solvency of the country may be questioned.
A country’s debt ratio is the ratio of aggregate debt to GDP. Because taxes are linked to
GDP, when an economy grows in real terms, tax revenues will also grow in real terms. If the
real interest rate on the government’s debt is higher than the real growth rate of the economy,
then the debt ratio will increase over time (keeping tax rates constant). Similarly, if the real
interest rate on government’s debt is lower than real growth in GDP, the debt ratio will
decrease (i.e., improve) over time.
Arguments for being concerned with the size of fiscal deficit:
Higher deficits lead to higher future taxes. Higher future taxes will lead to disincentives
to work and entrepreneurship. This leads to lower long-term economic growth.
If markets lose confidence in the government, investors may not be willing to refinance
the debt. This can lead to the government defaulting (if debt is in a foreign currency) or
having to simply print money (if the debt is in local currency). Printing money would
ultimately lead to higher inflation.
Increased government borrowing will tend to increase interest rates, and firms may
reduce their borrowing and investment spending as a result, decreasing the impact on
aggregate demand of deficit spending. This is referred to as the crowding-out effect
because government borrowing is taking the place of private sector borrowing.
Arguments against being concerned with the size of fiscal deficit:
If the debt is primarily being held by domestic citizens, the scale of the problem is
overstated.
If the debt is used to finance productive capital investment, future economic gains will
be sufficient to repay the debt.
Fiscal deficits may prompt needed tax reform.
Deficits would not matter if private sector savings in anticipation of future tax
liabilities just offsets the government deficit (Ricardian equivalence holds).
If the economy is operating at less than full capacity, deficits do not divert capital away
from productive uses. On the contrary, deficits can aid in increasing GDP and
employment.
LOS 16.r: Explain the implementation of fiscal policy and difficulties of
implementation.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 316
Fiscal policy is implemented through changes in taxes and spending. This is called
discretionary fiscal policy (as opposed to automatic stabilizers discussed previously).
Discretionary fiscal policy would be designed to be expansionary when the economy is
operating below full employment. Fiscal policy aims to stabilize aggregate demand. During
recessions, actions can be taken to increase government spending or decrease taxes. Either
change tends to strengthen the economy by increasing aggregate demand, putting more
money in the hands of corporations and consumers to invest and spend. During inflationary
economic booms, actions can be taken to decrease government spending or increase taxes.
Either change tends to slow the economy by decreasing aggregate demand, taking money out
of the hands of corporations and consumers, causing both investment and consumption
spending to fall.
Discretionary fiscal policy is not an exact science. First, economic forecasts might be wrong,
leading to incorrect policy decisions. Second, complications arise in practice that delay both
the implementation of discretionary fiscal policy and the impact of policy changes on the
economy. The lag between recessionary or inflationary conditions in the economy and the
impact on the economy of fiscal policy changes can be divided into three types:
Recognition lag: Discretionary fiscal policy decisions are made by a political process.
The state of the economy is complex, and it may take policymakers time to recognize
the nature and extent of the economic problems.
Action lag: The time governments take to discuss, vote on, and enact fiscal policy
changes.
Impact lag: The time between the enactment of fiscal policy changes and when the
impact of the changes on the economy actually takes place. It takes time for
corporations and individuals to act on the fiscal policy changes, and fiscal multiplier
effects occur only over time as well.
These lags can actually make fiscal policy counterproductive. For example, if the economy is
in a recession phase, fiscal stimulus may be deemed appropriate. However, by the time fiscal
stimulus is implemented and has its full impact, the economy may already be on a path to a
recovery driven by the private sector.
Additional macroeconomic issues may hinder usefulness of fiscal policy:
Misreading economic statistics: The full employment level for an economy is not
precisely measurable. If the government relies on expansionary fiscal policy mistakenly
at a time when the economy is already at full capacity, it will simply drive inflation
higher.
Crowding-out effect: Expansionary fiscal policy may crowd out private investment,
reducing the impact on aggregate demand.
Supply shortages: If economic activity is slow due to resource constraints (low
availability of labor or other resources) and not due to low demand, expansionary fiscal
policy will fail to achieve its objective and will probably lead to higher inflation.
Limits to deficits: There is a limit to expansionary fiscal policy. If the markets perceive
that the deficit is already too high as a proportion of GDP, funding the deficit will be
problematic. This could lead to higher interest rates and actually make the situation
worse.
Multiple targets: If the economy has high unemployment coupled with high inflation,
fiscal policy cannot address both problems simultaneously.
LOS 16.s: Determine whether a fiscal policy is expansionary or contractionary.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 315
Fiscal policy entails setting taxes and spending. A budget surplus (deficit) occurs when tax
revenues exceed (fall short of) spending. Economists often focus on changes in the surplus or
deficit to determine if the fiscal policy is expansionary or contractionary. An increase
(decrease) in surplus is indicative of a contractionary (expansionary) fiscal policy. Similarly,
an increase (decrease) in deficit is indicative of an expansionary (contractionary) fiscal
policy.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
For the exam, an increase (decrease) in a revenue item (e.g., sales tax) should be considered
contractionary (expansionary), and an increase (decrease) in a spending item (e.g., construction of
highways) should be considered expansionary (contractionary).
A government’s intended fiscal policy is not necessarily obvious from just examining the
current deficit. Consider an economy that is in recession so that transfer payments are
increased and tax revenue is decreased, leading to a deficit. This does not necessarily indicate
that fiscal policy is expansionary as, at least to some extent, the deficit is a natural outcome of
the recession without any explicit action of the government. Economists often use a measure
called the structural (or cyclically adjusted) budget deficit to gauge fiscal policy. This is
the deficit that would occur based on current policies if the economy were at full
employment.
LOS 16.t: Explain the interaction of monetary and fiscal policy.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 319
Monetary policy and fiscal policy may each be either expansionary or contractionary, so there
are four possible scenarios:
1. Expansionary fiscal and monetary policy: In this case, the impact will be highly
expansionary taken together. Interest rates will usually be lower (due to monetary
policy), and the private and public sectors will both expand.
2. Contractionary fiscal and monetary policy: In this case, aggregate demand and GDP
would be lower, and interest rates would be higher due to tight monetary policy. Both
the private and public sectors would contract.
3. Expansionary fiscal policy + contractionary monetary policy: In this case,
aggregate demand will likely be higher (due to fiscal policy), while interest rates will
be higher (due to increased government borrowing and tight monetary policy).
Government spending as a proportion of GDP will increase.
4. Contractionary fiscal policy + expansionary monetary policy: In this case, interest
rates will fall from decreased government borrowing and from the expansion of the
money supply, increasing both private consumption and output. Government spending
as a proportion of GDP will decrease due to contractionary fiscal policy. The private
sector would grow as a result of lower interest rates.
Not surprisingly, the fiscal multipliers for different types of fiscal stimulus differ, and the
effects of expansionary fiscal policy are greater when it is combined with expansionary
monetary policy. The fiscal multiplier for direct government spending increases has been
much higher than the fiscal multiplier for increases in transfers to individuals or tax
reductions for workers. Within this latter category, government transfer payments to the poor
have the greatest relative impact, followed by tax cuts for workers, and broader-based
transfers to individuals (not targeted). For all types of fiscal stimulus, the impact is greater
when the fiscal actions are combined with expansionary monetary policy. This may reflect
the impact of greater inflation, falling real interest rates, and the resulting increase in business
investment.
MODULE QUIZ 16.3
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. Roles and objectives of fiscal policy most likely include:
A. controlling the money supply to limit inflation.
B. adjusting tax rates to influence aggregate demand.
C. using government spending to control interest rates.
2. A government enacts a program to subsidize farmers with an expansive spending program
of $10 billion. At the same time, the government enacts a $10 billion tax increase over the
same period. Which of the following statements best describes the impact on aggregate
demand?
A. Lower growth because the tax increase will have a greater effect.
B. No effect because the tax and spending effects just offset each other.
C. Higher growth because the spending increase will have a greater effect.
3. A government reduces spending by $50 million. The tax rate is 30%, and consumers exhibit
a marginal propensity to consume of 80%. The change in aggregate demand caused by the
change in government spending is closest to:
A. –$66 million.
B. –$114 million.
C. –$250 million.
4. The size of a national debt is most likely to be a concern for policymakers if:
A. Ricardian equivalence holds.
B. a crowding-out effect occurs.
C. debt is used to finance capital growth.
5. Sales in the retail sector have been sluggish, and consumer confidence has recently
declined, indicating fewer planned purchases. In response, the president sends an
expansionary government spending plan to the legislature. The plan is submitted on March
30, and the legislature refines and approves the terms of the spending plan on June 30.
What type of fiscal plan is being considered, and what type of delay did the plan experience
between March 30 and June 30?
Fiscal plan
A. Discretionary
B. Automatic
C. Discretionary
Type of lag
Recognition
Action
Action
6. A government is concerned about the timing of the impact of fiscal policy changes and is
considering requiring the compilation and reporting of economic statistics weekly, rather than
quarterly. The new reporting frequency is intended to decrease:
D. the action lag.
E. the impact lag.
F. the recognition lag.
7. Fiscal policy is most likely to be expansionary if tax rates:
A. and government spending both decrease.
B. decrease and government spending increases.
C. increase and government spending decreases.
8. In the presence of tight monetary policy and loose fiscal policy, the most likely effect on
interest rates and the private sector share in GDP are:
Interest rate
A. lower
B. higher
C. higher
Share of private sector
lower
higher
lower
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 16.a
Fiscal policy is a government’s use of taxation and spending to influence the economy.
Monetary policy deals with determining the quantity of money supplied by the central bank.
Both policies aim to achieve economic growth with price level stability, although
governments use fiscal policy for social and political reasons as well.
LOS 16.b
Money is defined as a widely accepted medium of exchange. Functions of money include a
medium of exchange, a store of value, and a unit of account.
LOS 16.c
In a fractional reserve system, new money created is a multiple of new excess reserves
available for lending by banks. The potential multiplier is equal to the reciprocal of the
reserve requirement and, therefore, is inversely related to the reserve requirement.
LOS 16.d
Three factors influence money demand:
Transaction demand, for buying goods and services.
Precautionary demand, to meet unforeseen future needs.
Speculative demand, to take advantage of investment opportunities.
Money supply is determined by central banks with the goal of managing inflation and other
economic objectives.
LOS 16.e
The Fisher effect states that a nominal interest rate is equal to the real interest rate plus the
expected inflation rate.
LOS 16.f
Central bank roles include supplying currency, acting as banker to the government and to
other banks, regulating and supervising the payments system, acting as a lender of last resort,
holding the nation’s gold and foreign currency reserves, and conducting monetary policy.
Central banks have the objective of controlling inflation, and some have additional goals of
maintaining currency stability, full employment, positive sustainable economic growth, or
moderate interest rates.
LOS 16.g
High inflation, even when it is perfectly anticipated, imposes costs on the economy as people
reduce cash balances because of the higher opportunity cost of holding cash. More significant
costs are imposed by unexpected inflation, which reduces the information value of price
changes, can make economic cycles worse, and shifts wealth from lenders to borrowers.
Uncertainty about the future rate of inflation increases risk, resulting in decreased business
investment.
LOS 16.h
Policy tools available to central banks include the policy rate, reserve requirements, and open
market operations. The policy rate is called the discount rate in the United States, the
refinancing rate by the ECB, and the 2-week repo rate in the United Kingdom.
Decreasing the policy rate, decreasing reserve requirements, and making open market
purchases of securities are all expansionary. Increasing the policy rate, increasing reserve
requirements, and making open market sales of securities are all contractionary.
LOS 16.i
The transmission mechanism for changes in the central bank’s policy rate through to prices
and inflation includes one or more of the following:
Short-term bank lending rates.
Asset prices.
Expectations for economic activity and future policy rate changes.
Exchange rates with foreign currencies.
LOS 16.j
Effective central banks exhibit independence, credibility, and transparency.
Independence: The central bank is free from political interference.
Credibility: The central bank follows through on its stated policy intentions.
Transparency: The central bank makes it clear what economic indicators it uses and
reports on the state of those indicators.
LOS 16.k
A contractionary monetary policy (increase in policy rate) will tend to decrease economic
growth, increase market interest rates, decrease inflation, and lead to appreciation of the
domestic currency in foreign exchange markets. An expansionary monetary policy (decrease
in policy rate) will have opposite effects, tending to increase economic growth, decrease
market interest rates, increase inflation, and reduce the value of the currency in foreign
exchange markets.
LOS 16.l
Most central banks set target inflation rates, typically 2% to 3%, rather than targeting interest
rates as was once common. When inflation is expected to rise above (fall below) the target
band, the money supply is decreased (increased) to reduce (increase) economic activity.
Developing economies sometimes target a stable exchange rate for their currency relative to
that of a developed economy, selling their currency when its value rises above the target rate
and buying their currency with foreign reserves when the rate falls below the target. The
developing country must follow a monetary policy that supports the target exchange rate and
essentially commits to having the same inflation rate as the developed country.
LOS 16.m
The real trend rate is the long-term sustainable real growth rate of an economy. The neutral
interest rate is the sum of the real trend rate and the target inflation rate. Monetary policy is
said to be contractionary when the policy rate is above the neutral rate and expansionary
when the policy rate is below the neutral rate.
LOS 16.n
Reasons that monetary policy may not work as intended:
Monetary policy changes may affect inflation expectations to such an extent that longterm interest rates move opposite to short-term interest rates.
Individuals may be willing to hold greater cash balances without a change in short-term
rates (liquidity trap).
Banks may be unwilling to lend greater amounts, even when they have increased
excess reserves.
Short-term rates cannot be reduced below zero.
Developing economies face unique challenges in utilizing monetary policy due to
undeveloped financial markets, rapid financial innovation, and lack of credibility of the
monetary authority.
LOS 16.o
Fiscal policy refers to the taxing and spending policies of the government. Objectives of
fiscal policy can include (1) influencing the level of economic activity, (2) redistributing
wealth or income, and (3) allocating resources among industries.
LOS 16.p
Fiscal policy tools include spending tools and revenue tools. Spending tools include transfer
payments, current spending (goods and services used by government), and capital spending
(investment projects funded by government). Revenue tools include direct and indirect
taxation.
An advantage of fiscal policy is that indirect taxes can be used to quickly implement social
policies and can also be used to quickly raise revenues at a low cost.
Disadvantages of fiscal policy include time lags for implementing changes in direct taxes and
time lags for capital spending changes to have an impact.
LOS 16.q
Arguments for being concerned with the size of fiscal deficit:
Higher future taxes lead to disincentives to work, negatively affecting long-term
economic growth.
Fiscal deficits may not be financed by the market when debt levels are high.
Crowding-out effect as government borrowing increases interest rates and decreases
private sector investment.
Arguments against being concerned with the size of fiscal deficit:
Debt may be financed by domestic citizens.
Deficits for capital spending can boost the productive capacity of the economy.
Fiscal deficits may prompt needed tax reform.
Ricardian equivalence may prevail: private savings rise in anticipation of the need to
repay principal on government debt.
When the economy is operating below full employment, deficits do not crowd out
private investment.
LOS 16.r
Fiscal policy is implemented by governmental changes in taxing and spending policies.
Delays in realizing the effects of fiscal policy changes limit their usefulness. Delays can be
caused by:
Recognition lag: Policymakers may not immediately recognize when fiscal policy
changes are needed.
Action lag: Governments take time to enact needed fiscal policy changes.
Impact lag: Fiscal policy changes take time to affect economic activity.
LOS 16.s
A government has a budget surplus when tax revenues exceed government spending and a
deficit when spending exceeds tax revenue.
An increase (decrease) in a government budget surplus is indicative of a contractionary
(expansionary) fiscal policy. Similarly, an increase (decrease) in a government budget deficit
is indicative of an expansionary (contractionary) fiscal policy.
LOS 16.t
Interaction of monetary and fiscal policies:
Monetary
Policy
Fiscal Policy
Interest Rates
Output
Private
Sector Spending
Public
Sector Spending
Tight
Tight
higher
lower
lower
lower
Easy
Easy
lower
higher
higher
higher
Tight
Easy
higher
higher
lower
higher
Easy
Tight
lower
varies
higher
lower
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 16.1
1. B Both monetary and fiscal policies primarily strive to achieve economic targets such
as inflation and GDP growth. Balancing the budget is not a goal for monetary policy
and is a potential outcome of fiscal policy. Fiscal policy (but not monetary policy) may
secondarily be used as a tool to redistribute income and wealth. (LOS 16.a)
2. B Money functions as a unit of account, a medium of exchange, and a store of value.
Money existed long before the idea of central banking was conceived. (LOS 16.b)
3. A Money neutrality is the theory that changes in the money supply do not affect real
output or the velocity of money. Therefore, an increase in the money supply can only
increase the price level. (LOS 16.c)
4. C Given the equation of exchange, MV = PY, an increase in the money supply is
consistent with an increase in nominal GDP (PY). However, a decrease in velocity is
consistent with a decrease in nominal GDP. Unless we know the size of the changes in
the two variables, there is no way to tell what the net impact is on real GDP (Y) and
prices (P). (LOS 16.c)
5. A The money supply schedule is vertical because the money supply is independent of
interest rates. Central banks control the money supply. (LOS 16.d)
6. C The Fisher effect states that nominal interest rates are equal to the real interest rate
plus the expected inflation rate. (LOS 16.e)
7. B Central bank goals often include maximum employment, which is interpreted as
the maximum sustainable growth rate of the economy; stable prices; and moderate (not
minimum) long-term interest rates. (LOS 16.f)
8. C The money supply growth rate may need to be adjusted to keep the exchange rate
within acceptable bounds, but is not necessarily the same as that of the other country.
The other two statements are true. (LOS 16.f)
Module Quiz 16.2
1. A The primary method by which a central bank conducts monetary policy is through
changes in the target short-term rate or policy rate. (LOS 16.h)
2. C Open market purchases by monetary authorities decrease the interbank lending
rate by increasing excess reserves that banks can lend to one another and therefore
increasing their willingness to lend. (LOS 16.i)
3. C An increase in the policy rate is likely to increase longer-term interest rates,
causing decreases in consumption spending on durable goods and business investment
in plant and equipment. The increase in rates, however, makes investment in the
domestic economy more attractive to foreign investors, increasing demand for the
domestic currency and causing the currency to appreciate. (LOS 16.i)
4. C The three qualities of effective central banks are independence, credibility, and
transparency. (LOS 16.j)
5. C Decreasing the overnight lending rate would add reserves to the banking system,
which would encourage bank lending, expand the money supply, reduce interest rates,
and allow GDP growth and the rate of inflation to increase. Selling government
securities or increasing the reserve requirement would have the opposite effect,
reducing the money supply and decreasing the inflation rate. (LOS 16.k)
6. C Exchange rate targeting requires monetary policy to be consistent with the goal of
a stable exchange rate with the targeted currency, regardless of domestic economic
conditions. (LOS 16.l)
7. B neutral rate = trend rate + inflation target = 2% + 4.5% = 6.5%
Because the policy rate is less than the neutral rate, monetary policy is expansionary.
(LOS 16.m)
8. B Monetary policy has limited ability to act effectively against deflation because the
policy rate cannot be reduced below zero and demand for money may be highly elastic
(liquidity trap). (LOS 16.n)
Module Quiz 16.3
1. B Influencing the level of aggregate demand through taxation and government
spending is an objective of fiscal policy. Controlling inflation and interest rates are
typical objectives of monetary policy. (LOS 16.o)
2. C The amount of the spending program exactly offsets the amount of the tax
increase, leaving the budget unaffected. The multiplier for government spending is
greater than the multiplier for a tax increase. Therefore, the balanced budget multiplier
is positive. All of the government spending enters the economy as increased
expenditure, whereas spending is reduced by only a portion of the tax increase.
(LOS 16.p)
3. B fiscal multiplier = 1 / [1 – MPC (1 – T)] = 1 / [1 – 0.80(1 – 0.3)] = 2.27
change in government spending = –$50 million
change in aggregate demand = –(50 × 2.27) = –$113.64 million (LOS 16.p)
4. B Crowding out refers to the possibility that government borrowing causes interest
rates to increase and private investment to decrease. If government debt is financing the
growth of productive capital, this should increase future economic growth and tax
receipts to repay the debt. Ricardian equivalence is the theory that if government debt
increases, private citizens will increase savings in anticipation of higher future taxes,
and it is an argument against being concerned about the size of government debt and
budget deficits. (LOS 16.q)
5. C The expansionary plan initiated by the president and approved by the legislature is
an example of discretionary fiscal policy. The lag from the time of the submission
(March 30) through time of the vote (June 30) is known as action lag. It took the
legislature three months to write and pass the necessary laws. (LOS 16.r)
6. C More frequent and current economic data would make it easier for authorities to
monitor the economy and to recognize problems. The reduction in the time between
economic reports should reduce the recognition lag. (LOS 16.r)
7. B Increases in government spending and decreases in taxes are expansionary fiscal
policy. Decreases in spending and increases in taxes are contractionary fiscal policy.
(LOS 16.s)
8. C Tight monetary policy and loose fiscal policy both lead to higher interest rates.
Tight monetary policy decreases private sector growth, while loose fiscal policy
expands the public sector, reducing the overall share of private sector in the GDP.
(LOS 16.t)
The following is a review of the Economics (2) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #17.
READING 17: INTERNATIONAL TRADE
AND CAPITAL FLOWS
Study Session 5
EXAM FOCUS
International trade and currency exchange rates are key topics for both Level I and Level II.
First, learn how comparative advantage results in a welfare gain from international trade and
the two models of the sources of comparative advantage. Learn the types of trade restrictions
and their effects on domestic price and quantity. For the balance of payments, focus on how a
surplus or deficit in the broadly defined capital account must offset a deficit or surplus in the
merchandise trade account. Finally, focus on how the difference between domestic income
and expenditures and the difference between domestic savings and investment are related to a
country’s balance of trade.
MODULE 17.1: INTERNATIONAL TRADE
BENEFITS
Before we address specific topics and learning outcomes, it will help to
define some terms as follows.
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Imports: Goods and services that firms, individuals, and governments purchase from
producers in other countries.
Exports: Goods and services that firms, individuals, and governments from other countries
purchase from domestic producers.
Autarky or closed economy: A country that does not trade with other countries.
Free trade: A government places no restrictions or charges on import and export activity.
Trade protection: A government places restrictions, limits, or charges on exports or imports.
World price: The price of a good or service in world markets for those to whom trade is not
restricted.
Domestic price: The price of a good or service in the domestic country, which may be equal
to the world price if free trade is permitted or different from the world price when the
domestic country restricts trade.
Net exports: The value of a country’s exports minus the value of its imports over some
period.
Trade surplus: Net exports are positive; the value of the goods and services a country
exports are greater than the value of the goods and services it imports.
Trade deficit: Net exports are negative; the value of the goods and services a country exports
is less than the value of the goods and services it imports.
Terms of trade: The ratio of an index of the prices of a country’s exports to an index of the
prices of its imports expressed relative to a base value of 100. If a country’s terms of trade are
currently 102, the prices of the goods it exports have risen relative to the prices of the goods it
imports since the base period.
Foreign direct investment: Ownership of productive resources (land, factories, natural
resources) in a foreign country.
Multinational corporation: A firm that has made foreign direct investment in one or more
foreign countries, operating production facilities and subsidiary companies in foreign
countries.
LOS 17.a: Compare gross domestic product and gross national product.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 334
Gross domestic product over a period, typically a year, is the total value of goods and
services produced within a country’s borders. Gross national product is similar but
measures the total value of goods and services produced by the labor and capital of a
country’s citizens. The difference is due to non-citizen incomes of foreigners working within
a country, the income of citizens who work in other countries, the income of foreign capital
invested within a country, and the income of capital supplied by its citizens to foreign
countries. The income to capital owned by foreigners invested within a country is included in
the domestic country’s GDP but not in its GNP. The income of a country’s citizens working
abroad is included in its GNP but not in its GDP.
GDP is more closely related to economic activity within a country and so to its employment
and growth.
LOS 17.b: Describe benefits and costs of international trade.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 341
The benefits of trade are not hard to understand. As an example, consider China, and really
Asia as a whole, which has had rapidly growing exports to the United States and other
countries. The benefit to the importing countries has been lower-cost goods, from textiles to
electronics. The benefits to the Chinese economy have been in increasing employment,
increasing wages for workers, and the profits from its export products.
The costs of trade are primarily borne by those in domestic industries that compete with
imported goods. Textile workers who have lost their jobs in the United States, as more and
more textiles are imported, are certainly worse off in the short run. As other industries, such
as health care, have grown, these workers have had to retrain to qualify for the new jobs in
those fields. At the same time, U.S. firms that produce textile products using capital and
technology intensive production methods have expanded. We address the reasons for this and
the underlying economic theory in this topic review.
Overall, economics tells us that the benefits of trade are greater than the costs for economies
as a whole, so that the winners could conceivably compensate the losers and still be better
off. We now turn to the economic theory that supports this view.
LOS 17.c: Distinguish between comparative advantage and absolute advantage.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 343
A country is said to have an absolute advantage in the production of a good if it can produce
the good at a lower resource cost than another country. A country is said to have a
comparative advantage in the production of a good if it has a lower opportunity cost in the
production of that good,expressed as the amount of another good that could have been
produced instead. Economic analysis tells us that, regardless of which country has an absolute
advantage, there are potential gains from trade as long as the countries’ opportunity costs of
one good in terms of another are different.
This analysis is credited to David Ricardo who presented it in 1817. He used the example of
the production of cloth and wine in England and Portugal. A hypothetical example of the
amounts of cloth and wine these countries can produce per day of labor is presented in
Figure 17.1.
Figure 17.1: Output per Unit of Labor
Yards of Cloth
Bottles of Wine
Portugal
100
110
England
90
80
Ricardo argued that, in the absence of trading costs, England could trade cloth for wine, and
Portugal could trade wine for cloth, and both countries could have more of both wine and
cloth as a result. Because in Portugal a worker-day can be used to produce either 100 yards of
cloth or 110 bottles of wine, its opportunity cost of a yard of cloth is 110 / 100 = 1.1 bottles
of wine and its opportunity cost of a bottle of wine is 100 / 110 = 0.91 yards of cloth.
England’s opportunity cost of a yard of cloth is 80 / 90 = 0.89 bottles of wine and its
opportunity cost of a bottle of wine is 90 / 80 = 1.125 yards of cloth.
Portugal has a comparative advantage in the production of wine as its opportunity cost is 0.91
yards of cloth compared to England’s opportunity cost of 1.125 yards of cloth. As must be the
case, if Portugal has a comparative advantage in wine production, England has a comparative
advantage in cloth production.
To illustrate the benefits of trade, consider the output change if Portugal shifts 8 worker-days
from cloth production to wine production and England shifts 10 worker-days from wine
production to cloth production.
The change in Portugal’s production is 8 × 110 = +880 wine and –8 × 100 = –800
cloth.
The change in England’s production is –10 × 80 = –800 wine and 10 × 90 = +900
cloth.
Total production by the two countries will have increased by 80 bottles of wine and 100 yards
of cloth; these are the gains from trade. The negotiated terms of trade will determine how the
two countries share these gains. The important result is that total output has increased
through trade, there’s greater specialization by Portugal in wine production, and there’s
greater specialization by England in cloth production.
Note that Portugal has an absolute advantage in the production of both goods. However,
because the countries’ opportunity costs of production differ, each has a comparative
advantage in one of the goods, and trade can make both countries better off.
In our simple example, we assume constant opportunity costs. As a country specializes and
increases the production of an export good, increasing costs (e.g., using more marginal land
for grape growing) will increase the opportunity cost of the export good. The production
possibility frontier shown in Figure 17.2 illustrates such a situation and shows all
combinations of food and machinery that an economy can produce. The slope of the frontier
measures the opportunity cost of machinery in terms of food at each possible combination of
food and machinery. Over a range of possible output choices around 12 million tons of food
and 18 million machines, we show the slope is –3 and the opportunity cost of each million
machines is 3 million tons of food. If the country were to increase the production of
machinery, the amount of food production foregone would increase, as shown by the
increasingly negative slope of the frontier.
Figure 17.2: A Production Possibility Frontier
LOS 17.d: Compare the Ricardian and Heckscher–Ohlin models of trade and the
source(s) of comparative advantage in each model.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 350
The Ricardian model of trade has only one factor of production—labor. The source of
differences in production costs in Ricardo’s model is differences in labor productivity due to
differences in technology.
Heckscher and Ohlin presented a model in which there are two factors of production—capital
and labor. The source of comparative advantage (differences in opportunity costs) in this
model is differences in the relative amounts of each factor the countries possess. We can
view the England and Portugal example in these terms by assuming that England has more
capital (machinery) compared to labor than Portugal. Additionally, we need to assume that
cloth production is more capital intensive than wine production. The result of their analysis is
that the country that has more capital will specialize in the capital intensive good and trade
for the less capital intensive good with the country that has relatively more labor and less
capital.
In the Heckscher-Ohlin model, there is a redistribution of wealth within each country
between labor and the owners of capital. The price of the relatively less scarce (more
available) factor of production in each country will increase so that owners of capital will
earn more in England, and workers will earn more in Portugal compared to what they were
without trade. This is easy to understand in the context of prices of the two goods. The good
that a country imports will fall in price (that is why they import it), and the good that a
country exports will rise in price. In our example, this means that the price of wine falls, and
the price of cloth rises in England. Because with trade, more of the capital-intensive good,
cloth, is produced in England, demand for capital and the price of capital will increase in
England. As a result, capital receives more income at the expense of labor in England. In
Portugal, increasing the production of wine (which is labor intensive) increases the demand
for and price of labor, and workers gain at the expense of the owners of capital.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
Remember that the model named after one economist has one factor of production, and the model
named after two economists has two factors of production.
MODULE QUIZ 17.1
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. The income from a financial investment in Country P by a citizen of Country Q is most likely
included in:
A. Country P’s GDP but not its GNP.
B. Country Q’s GNP and GDP.
C. Country P’s GDP and GNP.
2. Which of the following effects is most likely to occur in a country that increases its openness
to international trade?
A. Increased prices of consumer goods.
B. Greater specialization in domestic output.
C. Decreased employment in exporting industries.
3. Which of the following statements about international trade is least accurate? If two
countries have different opportunity costs of production for two goods, by engaging in trade:
A. each country gains by importing the good for which it has a comparative advantage.
B. each country can achieve a level of consumption outside its domestic production
possibility frontier.
C. the low opportunity cost producer of each good will export to the high opportunity cost
producer of that good.
4. With regard to the Ricardian and Heckscher-Ohlin models of international trade, the amount
of capital relative to labor within a country is a factor in:
A. both of these models.
B. neither of these models.
C. only one of these models.
MODULE 17.2: TRADE RESTRICTIONS
LOS 17.e: Compare types of trade and capital restrictions and their
economic implications.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 352
There are many reasons (at least stated reasons) why governments impose trade restrictions.
Some have support among economists as conceivably valid in terms of increasing a country’s
welfare, while others have little or no support from economic theory. Some of the reasons for
trade restrictions that have support from economists are:
Infant industry. Protection from foreign competition is given to new industries to give
them an opportunity to grow to an internationally competitive scale and get up the
learning curve in terms of efficient production methods.
National security. Even if imports are cheaper, it may be in the country’s best interest
to protect producers of goods crucial to the country’s national defense so that those
goods are available domestically in the event of conflict.
Other arguments for trade restrictions that have little support in theory are:
Protecting domestic jobs. While some jobs are certainly lost, and some groups and
regions are negatively affected by free trade, other jobs (in export industries or growing
domestic goods and services industries) will be created, and prices for domestic
consumers will be less without import restrictions.
Protecting domestic industries. Industry firms often use political influence to get
protection from foreign competition, usually to the detriment of consumers, who pay
higher prices.
Other arguments include retaliation for foreign trade restrictions; government collection of
tariffs (like taxes on imported goods); countering the effects of government subsidies paid to
foreign producers; and preventing foreign exports at less than their cost of production
(dumping).
Types of trade restrictions include:
Tariffs: Taxes on imported good collected by the government.
Quotas: Limits on the amount of imports allowed over some period.
Export subsidies: Government payments to firms that export goods.
Minimum domestic content: Requirement that some percentage of product content
must be from the domestic country.
Voluntary export restraint: A country voluntarily restricts the amount of a good that
can be exported, often in the hope of avoiding tariffs or quotas imposed by their trading
partners.
Economic Implications of Trade Restrictions
We will now examine the effects of the primary types of trade restrictions, tariffs, and
subsidies.
A tariff placed on an imported good increases the domestic price, decreases the quantity
imported, and increases the quantity supplied domestically. Domestic producers gain, foreign
exporters lose, and the domestic government gains by the amount of the tariff revenues.
A quota restricts the quantity of a good imported to the quota amount. Domestic producers
gain, and domestic consumers lose from an increase in the domestic price. The right to export
a specific quantity to the domestic country is granted by the domestic government, which
may or may not charge for the import licenses to foreign countries. If the import licenses are
sold, the domestic government gains the revenue.
We illustrate the overall welfare effects of quotas and tariffs for a small country in
Figure 17.3. We define a quota that is equivalent to a given tariff as a quota that will result in
the same decrease in the quantity of a good imported as the tariff. Defined this way, a tariff
and an equivalent quota both increase the domestic price from Pworld, the price that prevails
with no trade restriction, to Pprotection.
At Pworld, prior to any restriction, the domestic quantity supplied is QS1, and the domestic
quantity demanded is QD1, with the difference equal to the quantity imported, QD1 – QS1.
Placing a tariff on imports increases the domestic price to Pprotection, increases the domestic
quantity supplied to QS2, and decreases the domestic quantity demanded to QD2. The
difference is the new quantity imported. An equivalent quota will have the same effect,
decreasing the quantity imported to QD2 – QS2.
The entire shaded area in Figure 17.3 represents the loss of consumer surplus in the domestic
economy. The portion with vertical lines, the area to the left of the domestic supply curve
between Pprotection and Pworld, represents the gain in the producer surplus of domestic
producers. The portion with horizontal lines, the area bounded by QD2 – QS2 and Pprotection –
Pworld, represents the gain to the domestic government from tariff revenue. The two
remaining triangular areas are the deadweight loss from the restriction on free trade.
Figure 17.3: Effects of Tariffs and Quotas
In the case of a quota, if the domestic government collects the full value of the import
licenses, the result is the same as for a tariff. If the domestic government does not charge for
the import licenses, this amount is a gain to those foreign exporters who receive the import
licenses under the quota and are termed quota rents.
In terms of overall economic gains from trade, the deadweight loss is the amount of lost
welfare from the imposition of the quota or tariff. From the viewpoint of the domestic
country, the loss in consumer surplus is only partially offset by the gains in domestic
producer surplus and the collection of tariff revenue.
If none of the quota rents are captured by the domestic government, the overall welfare loss
to the domestic economy is greater by the amount of the quota rents. It is the entire difference
between the gain in producer surplus and the loss of consumer surplus.
A voluntary export restraint (VER) is just as it sounds. It refers to a voluntary agreement
by a government to limit the quantity of a good that can be exported. VERs are another way
of protecting the domestic producers in the importing country. They result in a welfare loss to
the importing country equal to that of an equivalent quota with no government charge for the
import licenses; that is, no capture of the quota rents.
Export subsidies are payments by a government to its country’s exporters. Export subsidies
benefit producers (exporters) of the good but increase prices and reduce consumer surplus in
the exporting country. In a small country, the price will increase by the amount of the subsidy
to equal the world price plus the subsidy. In the case of a large exporter of the good, the
world price decreases and some benefits from the subsidy accrue to foreign consumers, while
foreign producers are negatively affected.
Most of the effects of all four of these protectionist policies are the same. With respect to the
domestic (importing) country, import quotas, tariffs, and VERs all:
Reduce imports.
Increase price.
Decrease consumer surplus.
Increase domestic quantity supplied.
Increase producer surplus.
With one exception, all will decrease national welfare. Quotas and tariffs in a large country
could increase national welfare under a specific set of assumptions, primarily because for a
country that imports a large amount of the good, setting a quota or tariff could reduce the
world price for the good.
Capital Restrictions
Some countries impose capital restrictions on the flow of financial capital across borders.
Restrictions include outright prohibition of investment in the domestic country by foreigners,
prohibition of or taxes on the income earned on foreign investments by domestic citizens,
prohibition of foreign investment in certain domestic industries, and restrictions on
repatriation of earnings of foreign entities operating in a country.
Overall, capital restrictions are thought to decrease economic welfare. However, over the
short term, they have helped developing countries avoid the impact of great inflows of
foreign capital during periods of optimistic expansion and the impact of large outflows of
foreign capital during periods of correction and market unease or outright panic. Even these
short-term benefits may not offset longer-term costs if the country is excluded from
international markets for financial capital flows.
LOS 17.f: Explain motivations for and advantages of trading blocs, common markets,
and economic unions.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 358
There are various types of agreements among countries with respect to trade policy. The
essence of all of them is to reduce trade barriers among the countries. Reductions in trade
restrictions among countries have some, by now familiar, positive and negative effects on
economic welfare. The positive effects result from increased trade according to comparative
advantage, as well as increased competition among firms in member countries. The negative
effects result because some firms, some industries, and some groups of workers will see their
wealth and incomes decrease. Workers in affected industries may need to learn new skills to
get new jobs.
On balance, economic welfare is improved by reducing or eliminating trade restrictions.
Note, however, that to the extent that a trade agreement increases trade restrictions on imports
from non-member countries, economic welfare gains are reduced and, in an extreme case,
could be outweighed by the costs such restrictions impose. This could result if restrictions on
trade with non-member countries increases a country’s (unrestricted) imports from a member
that has higher prices than the country’s previous imports from a non-member.
We list these types of agreements, generally referred to as trading blocs or regional trading
agreements (RTA), in order of their degrees of integration.
Free Trade Areas
1. All barriers to import and export of goods and services among member countries are
removed.
Customs Union
1. All barriers to import and export of goods and services among member countries are
removed.
2. All countries adopt a common set of trade restrictions with non-members.
Common Market
1. All barriers to import and export of goods and services among the countries are
removed.
2. All countries adopt a common set of trade restrictions with non-members.
3. All barriers to the movement of labor and capital goods among member countries are
removed.
Economic Union
1. All barriers to import and export of goods and services among the countries are
removed.
2. All countries adopt a common set of trade restrictions with non-members.
3. All barriers to the movement of labor and capital goods among member countries are
removed.
4. Member countries establish common institutions and economic policy for the union.
Monetary Union
1. All barriers to import and export of goods and services among the countries are
removed.
2. All countries adopt a common set of trade restrictions with non-members.
3. All barriers to the movement of labor and capital goods among member countries are
removed.
4. Member countries establish common institutions and economic policy for the union.
5. Member countries adopt a single currency.
The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is an example of a free trade area, the
European Union (EU) is an example of an economic union, and the euro zone is an example
of a monetary union.
LOS 17.g: Describe common objectives of capital restrictions imposed by governments.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 362
Governments sometimes place restrictions on the flow of investment capital into their
country, out of their country, or both. Commonly cited objectives of capital flow restrictions
include the following:
Reduce the volatility of domestic asset prices. In times of macroeconomic crisis, capital
flows out of the country can drive down asset prices drastically, especially prices of
liquid assets such as stocks and bonds. With no restrictions on inflows or outflows of
foreign investment capital, the asset markets of countries with economies that are small
relative to the amount of foreign investment can be quite volatile over a country’s
economic cycle.
Maintain fixed exchange rates. For countries with fixed exchange rate targets, limiting
flows of foreign investment capital makes it easier to meet the exchange rate target and,
therefore, to be able to use monetary and fiscal policy to pursue only the economic
goals for the domestic economy.
Keep domestic interest rates low. By restricting the outflow of investment capital,
countries can keep their domestic interest rates low and manage the domestic economy
with monetary policy, as investors cannot pursue higher rates in foreign countries.
China is an example of a country with a fixed exchange rate regime where restrictions
on capital flows allow policymakers to maintain the target exchange rate as well as to
pursue a monetary policy independent of concerns about its effect on currency
exchange rates.
Protect strategic industries. Governments sometimes prohibit investment by foreign
entities in industries considered to be important for national security, such as the
telecommunications and defense industries.
LOS 17.h: Describe the balance of payments accounts including their components.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 367
When a country’s firms and individuals pay for their purchases of foreign goods, services,
and financial assets, they must buy the currencies of the foreign countries in order to
accomplish those transactions. Similarly, payment for sales of goods, services, and financial
assets to foreigners requires them to purchase the currency of the domestic country. With
adjustment for changes in foreign debt to the domestic country and domestic debt to foreign
countries, these amounts must balance each other.
According to the U.S. Federal Reserve, “The BOP [balance of payments] includes the
current account, which mainly measures the flows of goods and services; the capital
account, which consists of capital transfers and the acquisition and disposal of non-produced,
non-financial assets; and the financial account, which records investment flows.”1
Drawing on the N.Y. Fed’s explanation, the items recorded in each account are as follows.
Current Account
The current account comprises three sub-accounts:
Merchandise and services. Merchandise consists of all raw materials and
manufactured goods bought, sold, or given away. Services include tourism,
transportation, and business and engineering services, as well as fees from patents and
copyrights on new technology, software, books, and movies.
Income receipts include foreign income from dividends on stock holdings and interest
on debt securities.
Unilateral transfers are one-way transfers of assets, such as money received from
those working abroad and direct foreign aid. In the case of foreign aid and gifts, the
capital account of the donor nation is debited.
Capital Account
The capital account comprises two sub-accounts:
Capital transfers include debt forgiveness and goods and financial assets that migrants
bring when they come to a country or take with them when they leave. Capital transfers
also include the transfer of title to fixed assets and of funds linked to the purchase or
sale of fixed assets, gift and inheritance taxes, death duties, and uninsured damage to
fixed assets.
Sales and purchases of non-financial assets that are not produced assets include
rights to natural resources and intangible assets, such as patents, copyrights,
trademarks, franchises, and leases.
Financial Account
The financial account comprises two sub-accounts:
Government-owned assets abroad include gold, foreign currencies, foreign securities,
reserve position in the International Monetary Fund, credits and other long-term assets,
direct foreign investment, and claims against foreign banks.
Foreign-owned assets in the country are divided into foreign official assets and other
foreign assets in the domestic country. These assets include domestic government and
corporate securities, direct investment in the domestic country, domestic country
currency, and domestic liabilities to foreigners reported by domestic banks.
A country that has imports valued more than its exports is said to have a current account
(trade) deficit, while countries with more exports than imports are said to have a current
account surplus. For a country with a trade deficit, it must be balanced by a net surplus in the
capital and financial accounts. As a result, investment analysts often think of all financing
flows as a single capital account that combines items in the capital and financial accounts.
Thinking in this way, any deficit in the current account must be made up by a surplus in the
combined capital account. That is, the excess of imports over exports must be offset by sales
of assets and debt incurred to foreign entities. A current account surplus is similarly offset by
purchases of foreign physical or financial assets.
LOS 17.i: Explain how decisions by consumers, firms, and governments affect the
balance of payments.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 373
The primary influences referred to here are on the current account deficit or surplus. If a
country’s net savings (both government savings and private savings) are less than the amount
of investment in domestic capital, this investment must be financed by foreign borrowing.
Foreign borrowing results in a capital account surplus, which means there is a trade deficit.
We can write the relation between the trade deficit, saving, and domestic investment as:
X – M = private savings + government savings – investment
Lower levels of private saving, larger government deficits, and high rates of domestic
investment all tend to result in or increase a current account deficit. The intuition here is that
low private or government savings in relation to private investment in domestic capital
requires foreign investment in domestic capital.
We can make a distinction, however, between a trade deficit resulting from high government
or private consumption and one resulting from high private investment in capital. In the first
case, borrowing from foreign countries to finance high consumption (low savings) increases
the domestic country’s liabilities without any increase to its future productive power. In the
second case, borrowing from foreign countries to finance a high level of private investment in
domestic capital, the added liability is accompanied by an increase in future productive power
because of the investment in capital.
LOS 17.j: Describe functions and objectives of the international organizations that
facilitate trade, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the
World Trade Organization.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 377
Perhaps the best way to understand the roles of the organizations designed to facilitate trade
is to examine their own statements.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF; more available at www.IMF.org):
Article I of the Articles of Agreement sets out the IMF’s main goals:
promoting international monetary cooperation;
facilitating the expansion and balanced growth of international trade;
promoting exchange stability;
assisting in the establishment of a multilateral system of payments; and
making resources available (with adequate safeguards) to members
experiencing balance of payments difficulties.
According to the World Bank (more available at www.WorldBank.org):
The World Bank is a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing
countries around the world. Our mission is to fight poverty with passion and
professionalism for lasting results and to help people help themselves and their
environment by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging
partnerships in the public and private sectors.
We are not a bank in the common sense; we are made up of two unique development
institutions owned by 187 member countries: the International Bank for Reconstruction
and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA).
Each institution plays a different but collaborative role in advancing the vision of
inclusive and sustainable globalization. The IBRD aims to reduce poverty in middleincome and creditworthy poorer countries, while IDA focuses on the world’s poorest
countries.
…Together, we provide low-interest loans, interest-free credits and grants to
developing countries for a wide array of purposes that include investments in education,
health, public administration, infrastructure, financial and private sector development,
agriculture and environmental and natural resource management.
According to the World Trade Organization (WTO; more available at www.WTO.org):
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the only international organization dealing
with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade
flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.
...Trade friction is channeled into the WTO’s dispute settlement process where the
focus is on interpreting agreements and commitments, and how to ensure that countries’
trade policies conform with them. That way, the risk of disputes spilling over into
political or military conflict is reduced.
...At the heart of the system—known as the multilateral trading system—are the
WTO’s agreements, negotiated and signed by a large majority of the world’s trading
nations, and ratified in their parliaments. These agreements are the legal ground-rules
for international commerce. Essentially, they are contracts, guaranteeing member
countries important trade rights. They also bind governments to keep their trade policies
within agreed limits to everybody’s benefit.
MODULE QUIZ 17.2
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. An agreement with another country to limit the volume of goods and services sold to them is
best described as:
A. a quota.
B. a voluntary export restraint.
C. a minimum domestic content rule.
2. Which of the following groups would be most likely to suffer losses from the imposition of a
tariff on steel imports?
A. Domestic steel producers.
B. Workers in the domestic auto industry.
C. Workers in the domestic steel industry.
3. The most likely motivation for establishing a trading bloc is to:
A. increase economic welfare in the member countries.
B. increase tariff revenue for the member governments.
C. protect domestic industries in the member economies.
4. In which type of regional trade agreement are economic policies conducted independently
by the member countries, while labor and capital are free to move among member
countries?
A. Free trade area.
B. Common market.
C. Economic union.
5. The goal of a government that imposes restrictions on foreign capital flows is most likely to:
A. stimulate domestic interest rates.
B. decrease domestic asset price volatility.
C. encourage competition with domestic industries.
6. Which of the following is least likely a component of the current account?
A. Unilateral transfers.
B. Payments for fixed assets.
C. Payments for goods and services.
7. A current account deficit is most likely to decrease as a result of an increase in:
A. domestic savings.
B. private investment.
C. the fiscal budget deficit.
8. Which international organization is primarily concerned with providing economic assistance
to developing countries?
A. World Bank.
B. World Trade Organization.
C. International Monetary Fund.
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 17.a
Gross domestic product is the total value of goods and services produced within a country’s
borders. Gross national product measures the total value of goods and services produced by
the labor and capital supplied by a country’s citizens, regardless of where the production
takes place.
LOS 17.b
Free trade among countries increases overall economic welfare. Countries can benefit from
trade because one country can specialize in the production of an export good and benefit from
economies of scale. Economic welfare can also be increased by greater product variety, more
competition, and a more efficient allocation of resources.
Costs of free trade are primarily losses to those in domestic industries that lose business to
foreign competition, especially less efficient producers who leave an industry. While other
domestic industries will benefit from freer trade policies, unemployment may increase over
the period in which workers are retrained for jobs in the expanding industries. Some argue
that greater income inequality may result, but overall the gains from liberalization of trade
policies are thought to exceed the costs, so that the winners could conceivably compensate
the losers and still be better off.
LOS 17.c
A country is said to have an absolute advantage in the production of a good if it can produce
the good at lower cost in terms of resources relative to another country.
A country is said to have a comparative advantage in the production of a good if its
opportunity cost in terms of other goods that could be produced instead is lower than that of
another country.
LOS 17.d
The Ricardian model of trade has only one factor of production—labor. The source of
differences in production costs and comparative advantage in Ricardo’s model is differences
in labor productivity due to differences in technology.
Heckscher and Ohlin presented a model in which there are two factors of production—capital
and labor. The source of comparative advantage (differences in opportunity costs) in this
model is differences in the relative amounts of each factor that countries possess.
LOS 17.e
Types of trade restrictions include:
Tariffs: Taxes on imported good collected by the government.
Quotas: Limits on the amount of imports allowed over some period.
Minimum domestic content: Requirement that some percentage of product content
must be from the domestic country.
Voluntary export restraints: A country voluntarily restricts the amount of a good that
can be exported, often in the hope of avoiding tariffs or quotas imposed by their trading
partners.
Within each importing country, all of these restrictions will tend to:
Increase prices of imports and decrease quantities of imports.
Increase demand for and quantity supplied of domestically produced goods.
Increase producer’s surplus and decrease consumer surplus.
Export subsidies decrease export prices and benefit importing countries at the expense of the
government of the exporting country.
Restrictions on the flow of financial capital across borders include outright prohibition of
investment in the domestic country by foreigners, prohibition of or taxes on the income
earned on foreign investments by domestic citizens, prohibition of foreign investment in
certain domestic industries, and restrictions on repatriation of earnings of foreign entities
operating in a country.
LOS 17.f
Trade agreements, which increase economic welfare by facilitating trade among member
countries, take the following forms:
Free trade area: All barriers to the import and export of goods and services among
member countries are removed.
Customs union: Member countries also adopt a common set of trade restrictions with
non-members.
Common market: Member countries also remove all barriers to the movement of labor
and capital goods among members.
Economic union: Member countries also establish common institutions and economic
policy for the union.
Monetary union: Member countries also adopt a single currency.
LOS 17.g
Commonly cited objectives of capital flow restrictions include:
Reducing the volatility of domestic asset prices.
Maintaining fixed exchange rates.
Keeping domestic interest rates low and enabling greater independence regarding
monetary policy.
Protecting strategic industries from foreign ownership.
LOS 17.h
The balance of payments refers to the fact that increases in a country’s assets and decreases in
its liabilities must equal (balance with) decreases in its assets and increases in its liabilities.
These financial flows are classified into three types:
The current account includes imports and exports of merchandise and services, foreign
income from dividends on stock holdings and interest on debt securities, and unilateral
transfers such as money received from those working abroad and direct foreign aid.
The capital account includes debt forgiveness, assets that migrants bring to or take
away from a country, transfer of funds for the purchase or sale of fixed assets, and
purchases of non-financial assets, including rights to natural resources, patents,
copyrights, trademarks, franchises, and leases.
The financial account includes government-owned assets abroad such as gold, foreign
currencies and securities, and direct foreign investment and claims against foreign
banks. The financial account also includes foreign-owned assets in the country,
domestic government and corporate securities, direct investment in the domestic
country, and domestic country currency.
Overall, any surplus (deficit) in the current account must be offset by a deficit (surplus) in the
capital and financial accounts.
LOS 17.i
In equilibrium, we have the relationship:
exports − imports = private savings + government savings − domestic investment
When total savings is less than domestic investment, exports must be less than imports so that
there is a deficit in the current account. Lower levels of private saving, larger government
deficits, and high rates of domestic investment all tend to result in or increase a current
account deficit. The intuition here is that low private or government savings in relation to
private investment in domestic capital requires foreign investment in domestic capital.
LOS 17.j
The International Monetary Fund facilitates trade by promoting international monetary
cooperation and exchange rate stability, assists in setting up international payments systems,
and makes resources available to member countries with balance of payments problems.
The World Bank provides low-interest loans, interest-free credits, and grants to developing
countries for many specific purposes. It also provides resources and knowledge and helps
form private/public partnerships with the overall goal of fighting poverty.
The World Trade Organization has the goal of ensuring that trade flows freely and works
smoothly. Its main focus is on instituting, interpreting, and enforcing a number of multilateral
trade agreements that detail global trade policies for a large majority of the world’s trading
nations.
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 17.1
1. A The income from a financial investment in Country P of a citizen of Country Q is
included in Country P’s GDP but not its GNP. It is included in Country Q’s GNP but
not its GDP. (LOS 17.a)
2. B Openness to international trade increases specialization as production shifts to
those products in which domestic producers have a comparative advantage. Greater
competition from imports will tend to decrease prices for consumer goods. Increasing
international trade is likely to increase profitability and employment in exporting
industries but may decrease profitability and employment in industries that compete
with imported goods. (LOS 17.b)
3. A Each country gains by exporting the good for which it has a comparative
advantage. (LOS 17.c)
4. C In the Ricardian model, labor is the only factor of production considered. In the
Heckscher-Ohlin model, comparative advantage results from the relative amounts of
labor and capital available in different countries. (LOS 17.d)
Module Quiz 17.2
1. B Voluntary export restraints are agreements to limit the volume of goods and
services exported to another country. Minimum domestic content rules are limitations
imposed by a government on its domestic firms. Import quotas are limitations on
imports, not on exports. (LOS 17.e)
2. B Imposing a tariff on steel imports benefits domestic steel producers and workers by
increasing the domestic price of steel and benefits the national government by
increasing tax (tariff) revenue. However, the increase in the domestic price of steel
would increase costs in industries that use significant amounts of steel, such as the
automobile industry. The resulting increase in the price of automobiles reduces the
quantity of automobiles demanded and ultimately reduces employment in that industry.
(LOS 17.e)
3. A The motivation for trading blocs is to increase economic welfare in the member
countries by eliminating barriers to trade. Joining a trading bloc may have negative
consequences for some domestic industries and may decrease tariff revenue for the
government. (LOS 17.f)
4. B These characteristics describe a common market. In a free trade area, member
countries remove restrictions on goods and services trade with one another but may still
restrict movement of labor and capital among member countries. In an economic union,
member countries also coordinate their economic policies and institutions. (LOS 17.f)
5. B Decreasing the volatility of domestic asset prices may be a goal of a government
that imposes capital restrictions. Other typical goals include keeping domestic interest
rates low and protecting certain domestic industries, such as the defense industry.
(LOS 17.g)
6. B Purchases and sales of fixed assets are recorded in the capital account. Goods and
services trade and unilateral transfers are components of the current account.
(LOS 17.h)
7. A Other things equal, an increase in domestic savings would tend to decrease the
current account deficit, while an increase in private investment or an increase in the
fiscal budget deficit would tend to increase the current account deficit. (LOS 17.i)
8. A The World Bank provides technical and financial assistance to economically
developing countries. The World Trade Organization is primarily concerned with
settling disputes among countries concerning international trade. The International
Monetary Fund promotes international trade and exchange rate stability and assists
member countries that experience balance of payments trouble. (LOS 17.j)
1. Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Fedpoints, May 2009. Emphasis added.
The following is a review of the Economics (2) principles designed to address the learning outcome statements set
forth by CFA Institute. Cross-Reference to CFA Institute Assigned Reading #18.
READING 18: CURRENCY EXCHANGE
RATES
Study Session 5
EXAM FOCUS
Candidates must understand spot exchange rates, forward exchange rates, and all the
calculations having to do with currency appreciation and depreciation. Additionally,
candidates should understand the steps a country can take to decrease a trade deficit and the
requirements for these to be effective under both the elasticities and absorption approaches.
Finally, candidates should make sure to know the terms for and definitions of the various
exchange rate regimes countries may adopt.
MODULE 18.1: FOREIGN EXCHANGE RATES
LOS 18.a: Define an exchange rate and distinguish between nominal
and real exchange rates and spot and forward exchange rates.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 397
An exchange rate is simply the price or cost of units of one currency in terms of another. For
the purposes of this book we will write 1.416 USD/EUR to mean that each euro costs $1.416.
If you read the “/” as per, you will have no trouble with the notation. We say the exchange
rate is $1.416 per euro.
PROFESSOR’S NOTE
There are alternative notations for foreign exchange quotes, but expressing them as the price of the
denominator currency in terms of the numerator currency is what we will use and what you can
expect on the Level I exam.
In a foreign currency quotation we have the price of one currency in units of another
currency. These are often referred to as the base currency and the price currency. In the
quotation 1.25 USD/EUR, the USD is the price currency and the EUR is the base currency.
The price of one euro (base currency) is 1.25 USD (the price currency) so 1.25 is the price of
one unit of the base currency in terms of the other. It may help to remember that the euro in
this example is in the bottom or “base” of the exchange rate given in terms of USD/EUR.
Sometimes an exchange rate expressed as price currency/base currency is referred to as a
direct quote from the point of view of an investor in the price currency country and an
indirect quote from the point of view of an investor in the base currency country. For
example, a quote of 1.17 USD/EUR would be a direct exchange rate quote for a USD-based
investor and an indirect quote for a EUR-based investor. Conversely, a quote of 1 / 1.17 =
0.845 EUR/USD would be a direct exchange rate quote for a EUR-based investor and an
indirect quote for a USD-based investor.
At a point in time, the nominal exchange rate $1.416/euro suggests that in order to purchase
one euro’s worth of goods and services in Euroland, the cost in U.S. dollars will be $1.416.
As time passes, the real exchange rate tells us the dollar cost of purchasing that same unit of
goods and services based on the new (current) dollar/euro exchange rate and the relative
changes in the price levels of both countries.
The formula for this calculation is:
real exchange rate = nominal exchange rate × ( CPI base currency )
CPI
price currency
A numerical example will help in understanding this relationship.
EXAMPLE: Real exchange rate
At a base period, the CPIs of the U.S. and U.K. are both 100, and the exchange rate is $1.70/£. Three years
later, the exchange rate is $1.60/£, and the CPI has risen to 110 in the United States and 112 in the U.K.
What is the real exchange rate?
Answer:
The real exchange rate is $1.60/£ × 112 / 110 = $1.629/£ which means that U.S. goods and services that
cost $1.70 at the base period now cost only $1.629 (in real terms) if purchased in the U.K. and the real
exchange rate, $/£, has fallen.
An equivalent way to express the relationship between real and nominal exchange rates is:
real exchange rate =
nominal exchange rate
(
CPI price currency
CPI base currency
)
In the previous example, the value of the denominator in the expression is
110
112
= 0.982
so the real exchange rate of $1.629/£ is greater than the nominal exchange rate of $1.60/£.
To better understand the intuition of this result, consider a situation where the CPIs are the
same as in the example, but the nominal exchange rate has been constant at $1/£. The real
exchange rate at the end of the period is then simply 1 / 0.982 = $1.0183/£. Because the
prices of U.S. goods have risen less than the prices of U.K. goods, a U.S. consumer must give
up 1.83% more domestic goods (compared to the base period) to purchase a given amount of
U.K. goods. The higher price inflation in the U.K. has increased real cost of U.K. goods to
U.S. consumers (the real exchange rate).
The effect of the inflation differential is to reduce any price advantage to U.S. consumers
from decreases in the $/£ exchange rate over the period, or to increase any price disadvantage
to U.S. consumers from increases in the $/£ exchange rate. The country with the lower
inflation rate will see its real cost of foreign goods increase, unless an appreciation of its
currency offsets the inflation differential.
Changes in real exchange rates can be used when analyzing economic changes over time.
When the real exchange rate (price / base) increases, exports of goods and services from the
price-currency country have gotten relatively less expensive to consumers in the basecurrency country, and imports of goods and services from the base-currency country have
gotten relatively more expensive to consumers in the price-currency country.
A spot exchange rate is the currency exchange rate for immediate delivery, which for most
currencies means the exchange of currencies takes place two days after the trade.
A forward exchange rate is a currency exchange rate for an exchange to be done in the
future. Forward rates are quoted for various future dates (e.g., 30 days, 60 days, 90 days, or
one year). A forward is actually an agreement to exchange a specific amount of one currency
for a specific amount of another on a future date specified in the forward agreement.
A French firm that will receive 10 million GBP from a British firm six months from now has
uncertainty about the amount of euros that payment will be equivalent to six months from
now. By entering into a forward agreement covering 10 million GBP at the 6-month forward
rate of 1.192 EUR/GBP, the French firm has agreed to exchange 10 million GBP for 11.92
million euros in six months.
LOS 18.b: Describe functions of and participants in the foreign exchange market.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 402
Foreign currency markets serve companies and individuals that purchase or sell foreign goods
and services denominated in foreign currencies. An even larger market, however, exists for
capital flows. Foreign currencies are needed to purchase foreign physical assets as well as
foreign financial securities.
Many companies have foreign exchange risk arising from their cross-border transactions. A
Japanese company that expects to receive 10 million euros when a transaction is completed in
90 days has yen/euro exchange rate risk as a result. By entering into a forward currency
contract to sell 10 million euros in 90 days for a specific quantity of yen, the firm can reduce
or eliminate its foreign exchange risk associated with the transaction. When a firm takes a
position in the foreign exchange market to reduce an existing risk, we say the firm is hedging
its risk.
Alternatively, when a transaction in the foreign exchange markets increases currency risk, we
term it a speculative transaction or position. Investors, companies, and financial institutions,
such as banks and investment funds, all regularly enter into speculative foreign currency
transactions.
The primary dealers in currencies and originators of forward foreign exchange (FX) contracts
are large multinational banks. This part of the FX market is often called the sell side. On the
other hand, the buy side consists of the many buyers of foreign currencies and forward FX
contracts. These buyers include the following:
Corporations regularly engage in cross-border transactions, purchase and sell foreign
currencies as a result, and enter into FX forward contracts to hedge the risk of expected
future receipts and payments denominated in foreign currencies.
Investment accounts of many types transact in foreign currencies, hold foreign
securities, and may both speculate and hedge with currency derivatives. Real money
accounts refer to mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, and other
institutional accounts that do not use derivatives. Leveraged accounts refer to the
various types of investment firms that do use derivatives, including hedge funds, firms
that trade for their own accounts, and other trading firms of various types.
Governments and government entities, including sovereign wealth funds and
pension funds, acquire foreign exchange for transactional needs, investment, or
speculation. Central banks sometimes engage in FX transactions to affect exchange
rates in the short term in accordance with government policy.
The retail market refers to FX transactions by households and relatively small
institutions and may be for tourism, cross-border investment, or speculative trading.
LOS 18.c: Calculate and interpret the percentage change in a currency relative to
another currency.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 414
Consider a USD/EUR exchange rate that has changed from 1.42 to 1.39 USD/EUR. The
percentage change in the dollar price of a euro is simply 1.39 / 1.42 – 1 = –0.0211 = –2.11%.
Because the dollar price of a euro has fallen, the euro has depreciated relative to the dollar,
and a euro now buys 2.11% fewer U.S. dollars. It is correct to say that the euro has
depreciated by 2.11% relative to the dollar.
On the other hand, it is not correct to say that the dollar has appreciated by 2.11%. To
calculate the percentage appreciation of the dollar, we need to convert the quotes to
EUR/USD. So our beginning quote of 1.42 USD/EUR becomes 1 / 1.42 = 0.7042 EUR/USD,
and our ending quote of 1.39 USD/EUR becomes 1 / 1.39 = 0.7194 EUR/USD. Using these
exchange rates, we can calculate the change in the euro price of a dollar as 0.7194 / 0.7042 –
1 = 0.0216 = 2.16%. In this case, it is correct to say that the dollar has appreciated 2.16%
with respect to the euro. For the same quotes, the percentage appreciation of the dollar is not
the same as the percentage depreciation in the euro.
The key point to remember is that we can correctly calculate the percentage change of the
base currency in a foreign exchange quotation.
LOS 18.d: Calculate and interpret currency cross-rates.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 417
The cross rate is the exchange rate between two currencies implied by their exchange rates
with a common third currency. Cross rates are necessary when there is no active FX market
in the currency pair. The rate must be computed from the exchange rates between each of
these two currencies and a third currency, usually the USD or EUR.
Let’s assume that we have the following quotations for Mexican pesos and Australian dollars:
MXN/USD = 10.70 and USD/AUD = 0.60. The cross rate between Australian dollars and
pesos (MXN/AUD) is:
MXN/AUD = USD/AUD × MXN/USD = 0.60 × 10.70 = 6.42
So our MXN/AUD cross rate is 6.42 pesos per Australian dollar. The key to calculating cross
rates is to note that the basis of the quotations must be such that we get the desired result
algebraically. If we had started with an AUD/USD quotation of 1.67, we would have taken
the inverse to get the quotation into USD/AUD terms. Another approach is to divide through,
as is illustrated in the following example.
EXAMPLE: Cross rate calculation
The spot exchange rate between the Swiss franc (CHF) and the USD is CHF/USD = 1.7799, and the spot
exchange rate between the New Zealand dollar (NZD) and the U.S. dollar is NZD/USD = 2.2529.
Calculate the CHF/NZD spot rate.
Answer:
The CHF/NZD cross rate is:
(CHF/USD) / (NZD/USD) = 1.7799 / 2.2529 = 0.7900
MODULE QUIZ 18.1
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1. One year ago, the nominal exchange rate for USD/EUR was 1.300. Since then, the real
exchange rate has increased by 3%. This most likely implies that:
A. the nominal exchange rate is less than USD/EUR 1.235.
B. the purchasing power of the euro has increased approximately 3% in terms of U.S.
goods.
C. inflation in the euro zone was approximately 3% higher than inflation in the United
States.
2. Sell-side participants in the foreign exchange market are most likely to include:
A. banks.
B. hedge funds.
C. insurance companies.
3. Suppose that the quote for British pounds (GBP) in New York is USD/GBP 1.3110. What is
the quote for U.S. dollars (USD) in London (GBP/USD)?
A. 0.3110.
B. 0.7628.
C. 1.3110.
4. The Canadian dollar (CAD) exchange rate with the Japanese yen (JPY) changes from
JPY/CAD 75 to JPY/CAD 78. The CAD has:
A. depreciated by 3.8%, and the JPY has appreciated by 4.0%.
B. appreciated by 3.8%, and the JPY has depreciated by 4.0%.
C. appreciated by 4.0%, and the JPY has depreciated by 3.8%.
5. Today’s spot rate for the Indonesian rupiah (IDR) is IDR/USD 2,400.00, and the New
Zealand dollar trades at NZD/USD 1.6000. The NZD/IDR cross rate is:
A. 0.00067.
B. 1,492.53.
C. 3,840.00.
6. The NZD is trading at USD/NZD 0.3500, and the SEK is trading at NZD/SEK 0.3100. The
USD/SEK cross rate is:
A. 0.1085.
B. 8.8573.
C. 9.2166.
MODULE 18.2: FORWARD EXCHANGE RATES
LOS 18.e: Convert forward quotations expressed on a points basis or in
percentage terms into an outright forward quotation.
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CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 421
A forward exchange rate quote typically differs from the spot quotation and is expressed in
terms of the difference between the spot exchange rate and the forward exchange rate. One
way to indicate this is with points. The unit of points is the last decimal place in the spot rate
quote. For a spot currency quote to four decimal places, such as 2.3481, each point is 0.0001
or 1/10,000th. A quote of +18.3 points for a 90-day forward exchange rate means that the
forward rate is 0.00183 more than the spot exchange rate.
EXAMPLE: Forward exchange rates in points
The AUD/EUR spot exchange rate is 0.7313 with the 1-year forward rate quoted at +3.5 points. What is the
1-year forward AUD/EUR exchange rate?
Answer:
The forward exchange rate is 0.7313 + 0.00035 = 0.73165.
EXAMPLE: Forward exchange rates in percent
The AUD/EUR spot rate is quoted at 0.7313, and the 120-day forward exchange rate is given as –0.062%.
What is the 120-day forward AUD/EUR exchange rate?
Answer:
The forward exchange rate is 0.7313 (1 – 0.00062) = 0.7308.
LOS 18.f: Explain the arbitrage relationship between spot rates, forward rates, and
interest rates.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 423
When currencies are freely traded and forward currency contracts exist, the percentage
difference between forward and spot exchange rates is approximately equal to the difference
between the two countries’ interest rates. This is because there is an arbitrage trade with a
riskless profit to be made when this relation does not hold.
We call this a no-arbitrage condition because if it doesn’t hold there is an opportunity to
make a profit without risk. The possible arbitrage is as follows: borrow Currency A at interest
rate A, convert it to Currency B at the spot rate and invest it to earn interest rate B, and sell
the proceeds from this investment forward at the forward rate to turn it back into Currency A.
If the forward rate does not correctly reflect the difference between interest rates, such an
arbitrage could generate a profit to the extent that the return from investing Currency B and
converting it back to Currency A with a forward contract is greater than the cost of borrowing
Currency A for the period. We consider a numerical analysis of such an arbitrage later in this
topic review.
For spot and forward rates expressed as price currency/base currency, the no-arbitrage
relation (commonly referred to as interest rate parity) is:
forward (1+interest rateprice currency )
=
spot
(1+interest ratebase currency )
This formula can be rearranged as necessary in order to solve for specific values of the
relevant terms.
LOS 18.g: Calculate and interpret a forward discount or premium.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 421
The forward discount or forward premium for a currency is calculated relative to the spot
exchange rate. The forward discount or premium for the base currency is the percentage
difference between the forward price and the spot price.
Consider the following spot and forward exchange rates as the price in U.S. dollars of one
euro.
USD/EUR spot = $1.312
USD/EUR 90-day forward = $1.320
The (90-day) forward premium or discount on the euro = forward/spot – 1 = 1.320 / 1.312 – 1
= 0.609%. Because this is positive, it is interpreted as a forward premium on the euro of
0.609%. Since we have the forward rate for 3 months, we could annualize the discount
simply by multiplying by 4 ( = 12 / 3).
Because the forward quote is greater than the spot quote, it will take more dollars to buy one
euro 90 days from now, so the euro is expected to appreciate versus the dollar, and the dollar
is expected to depreciate relative to the euro.
If the forward quote were less than the spot quote, the calculated amount would be negative
and we would interpret that as a forward discount for the euro relative to the U.S. dollar.
LOS 18.h: Calculate and interpret the forward rate consistent with the spot rate and the
interest rate in each currency.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 423
EXAMPLE: Calculating the arbitrage-free forward exchange rate
Consider two currencies, the ABE and the DUB. The spot ABE/DUB exchange rate is 4.5671, the 1-year
riskless ABE rate is 5%, and the 1-year riskless DUB rate is 3%. What is the 1-year forward exchange rate
that will prevent arbitrage profits?
Answer:
Rearranging our formula, we have:
forward = spot ( 1+I ABE ) and we can calculate the forward rate asforward = 4.5671 ( 1.03
1+I
1.05
DUB
Note that the forward rate is greater than the spot rate by 4.6558 / 4.5671 – 1 = 1.94%. This is
approximately equal to the interest rate differential of 5% – 3% = 2%. The currency with the higher interest
rate should depreciate over time by approximately the amount of the interest rate differential.
If we are calculating a 90-day or 180-day forward exchange rate, we need to use interest rates
for 90-day or 180-day periods rather than annual rates. Note that these shorter-term rates are
quoted as annualized money market yields.
EXAMPLE: Calculating the arbitrage-free forward exchange rate with 90-day interest rates
The spot ABE/DUB exchange rate is 4.5671, the 90-day riskless ABE rate is 5%, and the 90-day riskless
DUB rate is 3%. What is the 90-day forward exchange rate that will prevent arbitrage profits?
Answer:
forward = 4.5671 [
1+
0.05
4
1+
0.03
4
] = 4.5671 ( 1.0125
) = 4.5898ABE/DUB
1.0075
In our previous example, we calculated the no-arbitrage one-year forward ABE/DUB
exchange rate as 4.6558. Here, we illustrate the arbitrage profit that could be gained if the
forward exchange rate differs from this no-arbitrage rate. Consider a forward rate of 4.6000
so that the depreciation in the ABE is less than that implied by interest rate parity. This makes
the ABE attractive to a DUB investor who can earn a riskless profit as follows:
Borrow 1,000 DUB for one year at 3% to purchase ABE and get 4,567.1 ABE.
Invest the 4,567.1 ABE at the ABE rate of 5% to have 1.05(4,567.1) = 4,795.45 ABE
at the end of one year.
Enter into a currency forward contract to exchange 4,795.45 ABE in one year at the
forward rate of 4.6000 ABE/DUB in order to receive 4,795.45 / 4.6000 = 1,042.49
DUB.
The investor has ended the year with a 4.249% return on his 1,000 DUB investment, which is
higher than the 3% 1-year DUB interest rate. After repaying the 1,000 DUB loan plus interest
(1,030 DUB), the investor has a profit of 1,042.49 – 1,030 = 12.49 DUB with no risk and no
initial out-of-pocket investment (i.e., a pure arbitrage profit).
Arbitrageurs will pursue this opportunity, buying ABE (driving down the spot ABE/DUB
exchange rate) and selling ABE forward (driving up the forward ABE/DUB exchange rate),
until the interest rate parity relation is restored and arbitrage profits are no longer available.
MODULE QUIZ 18.2
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. The spot CHF/GBP exchange rate is 1.3050. In the 180-day forward market, the CHF/GBP
exchange rate is –42.5 points. The 180-day forward CHF/GBP exchange rate is closest to:
A. 1.2625.
B. 1.3008.
C. 1.3093.
2. The spot rate on the New Zealand dollar (NZD) is NZD/USD 1.4286, and the 180-day
forward rate is NZD/USD 1.3889. This difference means:
A. interest rates are lower in the United States than in New Zealand.
B. interest rates are higher in the United States than in New Zealand.
C. it takes more NZD to buy one USD in the forward market than in the spot market.
3. The current spot rate for the British pound in terms of U.S. dollars is $1.533 and the 180-day
forward rate is $1.508. Relative to the pound, the dollar is trading closest to a 180-day
forward:
A. discount of 1.63%.
B. premium of 1.66%.
C. discount of 1.66%.
4. The annual interest rates in the United States (USD) and Sweden (SEK) are 4% and 7% per
year, respectively. If the current spot rate is SEK/USD 9.5238, then the 1-year forward rate
in SEK/USD is:
A. 9.2568.
B. 9.7985.
C. 10.2884.
5. The annual risk-free interest rate is 10% in the United States (USD) and 4% in Switzerland
(CHF), and the 1-year forward rate is USD/CHF 0.80. Today’s USD/CHF spot rate is closest
to:
A. 0.7564.
B. 0.8462.
C. 0.8888.
MODULE 18.3: MANAGING EXCHANGE RATES
LOS 18.i: Describe exchange rate regimes.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 428
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The IMF categorizes exchange rate regimes into the following types, two for countries that
do not issue their own currencies and seven for countries that issue their own currencies.
Countries That Do Not Have Their Own Currency
A country can use the currency of another country (formal dollarization). The country
cannot have its own monetary policy, as it does not create money/currency.
A country can be a member of a monetary union in which several countries use a
common currency. Within the European Union, for example, most countries use the
euro. While individual countries give up the ability to set domestic monetary policy,
they all participate in determining the monetary policy of the European Central Bank.
Countries That Have Their Own Currency
A currency board arrangement is an explicit commitment to exchange domestic
currency for a specified foreign currency at a fixed exchange rate. A notable example
of such an arrangement is Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, currency is (and may be) only
issued when fully backed by holdings of an equivalent amount of U.S. dollars. The
Hong Kong Monetary Authority can earn interest on its U.S. dollar balances. With
dollarization, there is no such income, as the income is earned by the U.S. Federal
Reserve when it buys interest-bearing assets with the U.S. currency it issues. While the
monetary authority gives up the ability to conduct independent monetary policy and
essentially imports the inflation rate of the outside currency, there may be some latitude
to affect interest rates over the short term.
In a conventional fixed peg arrangement, a country pegs its currency within margins
of ±1% versus another currency or a basket that includes the currencies of its major
trading or financial partners. The monetary authority can maintain exchange rates
within the band by purchasing or selling foreign currencies in the foreign exchange
markets (direct intervention). In addition, the country can use indirect intervention,
including changes in interest rate policy, regulation of foreign exchange transactions,
and convincing people to constrain foreign exchange activity. The monetary authority
retains more flexibility to conduct monetary policy than with dollarization, a monetary
union, or a currency board. However, changes in policy are constrained by the
requirements of the peg.
In a system of pegged exchange rates within horizontal bands or a target zone, the
permitted fluctuations in currency value relative to another currency or basket of
currencies are wider (e.g., ±2%). Compared to a conventional peg, the monetary
authority has more policy discretion because the bands are wider.
With a crawling peg, the exchange rate is adjusted periodically, typically to adjust for
higher inflation versus the currency used in the peg. This is termed a passive crawling
peg, as opposed to an active crawling peg in which a series of exchange rate
adjustments over time is announced and implemented. An active crawling peg can
influence inflation expectations, adding some predictability to domestic inflation.
Monetary policy is restricted in much the same way it is with a fixed peg arrangement.
With management of exchange rates within crawling bands, the width of the bands
that identify permissible exchange rates is increased over time. This method can be
used to transition from a fixed peg to a floating rate when the monetary authority’s lack
of credibility makes an immediate change to floating rates impractical. Again, the
degree of monetary policy flexibility increases with the width of the bands.
With a system of managed floating exchange rates, the monetary authority attempts
to influence the exchange rate in response to specific indicators such as the balance of
payments, inflation rates, or employment without any specific target exchange rate or
predetermined exchange rate path. Intervention may be direct or indirect. Such
management of exchange rates may induce trading partners to respond in ways that
reduce stability.
When a currency is independently floating, the exchange rate is market-determined,
and foreign exchange market intervention is used only to slow the rate of change and
reduce short-term fluctuations, not to keep exchange rates at a target level.
LOS 18.j: Explain the effects of exchange rates on countries’ international trade and
capital flows.
CFA® Program Curriculum, Volume 2, page 440
We address the question of how a change in exchange rates affects a country’s balance of
trade using two approaches. The elasticities approach focuses on the impact of exchange
rate changes on the total value of imports and on the total value of exports. Because a trade
deficit (surplus) must be offset by a surplus (deficit) in the capital account, we can also view
the effects of a change in exchange rates on capital flows rather than on goods flows. The
absorption approach to analyzing the effect of a change in exchange rates focuses on capital
flows.
The relation between the balance of trade and capital flows is expressed by the identity we
presented in the topic review of Aggregate Output, Prices, and Economic Growth. This
identity is:
exports – imports ≡ (private savings – investment in physical capital) + (tax revenue –
government spending)
or
X – M ≡ (S – I) + (T – G)
The intuition is that a trade deficit (X – M < 0) means that the right-hand side must also be
negative so that the total savings (private savings + government savings) is less than domestic
investment in physical capital. The additional amount to fund domestic investment must
come from foreigners, so there is a surplus in the capital account to offset the deficit in the
trade account. Another thing we can see from this identity is that any government deficit not
funded by an excess of domestic saving over domestic investment is consistent with a trade
deficit (imports > exports) which is offset by an inflow of foreign capital (a surplus in the
capital account).
Elasticities Approach
This approach to understanding the impact of exchange rate changes on the balance of trade
focuses on how exchange rate changes affect total expenditures on imports and exports.
Consider an initial situation in which a country has a merchandise trade deficit (i.e., its
imports exceed its exports). Depreciation of the domestic currency will make imports more
expensive in domestic currency terms and exports less expensive in foreign currency terms.
Thus, depreciation of the domestic currency will increase exports and decrease imports and
would seem to unambiguously reduce the trade deficit. However, it is not the quantity of
imports and exports, but the total expenditures on imports and exports that must change in
order to affect the trade deficit. Thus, the elasticity of demand for export goods and import
goods is a crucial part of the analysis.
The condition under which a depreciation of the domestic currency will decrease a trade
deficit are given in what is called the generalized Marshall-Lerner condition:
WX εX + WM (εM – 1) > 0
where:
Wx = proportion of total trade that is exports
Wm = proportion of total trade that is imports
εX = absolute value of price elasticity of demand for exports
εm = absolute value of price elasticity of demand for imports
In the case where import expenditures and export revenues are equal, WX = WM, this
condition reduces to εX + εM > 1, which is most often cited as the classic Marshall-Lerner
condition.
The elasticities approach tells us that currency depreciation will result in a greater
improvement in the trade deficit when either import or export demand is elastic. For this
reason, the compositions of export goods and import goods are an important determinant of
the success of currency depreciation in reducing a trade deficit. In general, elasticity of
demand is greater for goods with close substitutes, goods that represent a high proportion of
consumer spending, and luxury goods in general. Goods that are necessities, have few or no
good substitutes, or represent a small proportion of overall expenditures tend to have less
elastic demand. Thus, currency depreciation will have a greater effect on the balance of trade
when import or export goods are primarily luxury goods, goods with close substitutes, and
goods that represent a large proportion of overall spending.
The J-Curve
Because import and export contracts for the delivery of goods most often require delivery and
payment in the future, import and export quantities may be relatively insensitive to currency
depreciation in the short run. This means that a currency depreciation may worsen a trade
deficit initially. Importers adjust over time by reducing quantities. The Marshall-Lerner
conditions take effect and the currency depreciation begins to improve the trade balance.
This short-term increase in the deficit followed by a decrease when the Marshall-Lerner
condition is met is referred to as the J-curve and is illustrated in Figure 18.1.
Figure 18.1: J-Curve Effect
The Absorption Approach
One shortcoming of the elasticities approach is that it only considers the microeconomic
relationship between exchange rates and trade balances. It ignores capital flows, which must
also change as a result of a currency depreciation that improves the balance of trade. The
absorption approach is a macroeconomic technique that focuses on the capital account and
can be represented as:
BT = Y – E
where:
Y = domestic production of goods and services or national income
E = domestic absorption of goods and services, which is total expenditure
BT = balance of trade
Viewed in this way, we can see that income relative to expenditure must increase (domestic
absorption must fall) for the balance of trade to improve in response to a currency
depreciation. For the balance of trade to improve, domestic saving must increase relative to
domestic investment in physical capital (which is a component of E). Thus, for a depreciation
of the domestic currency to improve the balance of trade towards surplus, it must increase
national income relative to expenditure. We can also view this as a requirement that national
saving increase relative to domestic investment in physical capital.
Whether a currency depreciation has these effects depends on the current level of capacity
utilization in the economy. When an economy is operating at less than full employment, the
currency depreciation makes domestic goods and assets relatively more attractive than
foreign goods and assets. The resulting shift in demand away from foreign goods and assets
and towards domestic goods and assets will increase both expenditures and income. Because
part of the income increase will be saved, national income will increase more than total
expenditure, improving the balance of trade.
In a situation where the economy is operating at full employment (capacity), an increase in
domestic spending will translate to higher domestic prices, which can reverse the relative
price changes of the currency depreciation, resulting in a return to the previous deficit in the
balance of trade. A currency depreciation at full capacity does result in a decline in the value
of domestic assets. This decline in savers’ real wealth will induce an increase in saving to
rebuild wealth, initially improving the balance of trade from the currency depreciation. As the
real wealth of savers increases, however, the positive impact on saving will decrease,
eventually returning the economy to its previous state and balance of trade.
MODULE QUIZ 18.3
To best evaluate your performance, enter your quiz answers online.
1. The monetary authority of The Stoddard Islands will exchange its currency for U.S. dollars at
a one-for-one ratio. As a result, the exchange rate of the Stoddard Islands currency with the
U.S. dollar is 1.00, and many businesses in the Islands will accept U.S. dollars in
transactions. This exchange rate regime is best described as:
A. a fixed peg.
B. dollarization.
C. a currency board.
2. A country that wishes to narrow its trade deficit devalues its currency. If domestic demand
for imports is perfectly price-inelastic, whether devaluing the currency will result in a
narrower trade deficit is least likely to depend on:
A. the size of the currency devaluation.
B. the country’s ratio of imports to exports.
C. price elasticity of demand for the country’s exports.
3. A devaluation of a country’s currency to improve its trade deficit would most likely benefit a
producer of:
A. luxury goods for export.
B. export goods that have no close substitutes.
C. an export good that represents a relatively small proportion of consumer
expenditures.
4. Other things equal, which of the following is most likely to decrease a country’s trade deficit?
A. Increase its capital account surplus.
B. Decrease expenditures relative to income.
C. Decrease domestic saving relative to domestic investment.
KEY CONCEPTS
LOS 18.a
Currency exchange rates are given as the price of one unit of currency in terms of another. A
nominal exchange rate of 1.44 USD/EUR is interpreted as $1.44 per euro. We refer to the
USD as the price currency and the EUR as the base currency.
An increase (decrease) in an exchange rate represents an appreciation (depreciation) of the
base currency relative to the price currency.
A spot exchange rate is the rate for immediate delivery. A forward exchange rate is a rate for
exchange of currencies at some future date.
A real exchange rate measures changes in relative purchasing power over time.
real exchange rate = nominal exchange rate × (
CPI base currency
CPI price currency
)
LOS 18.b
The market for foreign exchange is the largest financial market in terms of the value of daily
transactions and has a variety of participants, including large multinational banks (the sell
side) and corporations, investment fund managers, hedge fund managers, investors,
governments, and central banks (the buy side).
Participants in the foreign exchange markets are referred to as hedgers if they enter into
transactions that decrease an existing foreign exchange risk and as speculators if they enter
into transactions that increase their foreign exchange risk.
LOS 18.c
For a change in an exchange rate, we can calculate the percentage appreciation (price goes
up) or depreciation (price goes down) of the base currency. For example, a decrease in the
USD/EUR exchange rate from 1.44 to 1.42 represents a depreciation of the EUR relative to
the USD of 1.39% (1.42 / 1.44 − 1 = –0.0139) because the price of a euro has fallen 1.39%.
To calculate the appreciation or depreciation of the price currency, we first invert the quote so
it is now the base currency and then proceed as above. For example, a decrease in the
USD/EUR exchange rate from 1.44 to 1.42 represents an appreciation of the USD relative to
the EUR of 1.41%: (1 / 1.42) / (1 / 1.44) − 1 = 1.44
− 1 = 0.0141.
1.42
The appreciation is the inverse of the depreciation,
1
(1−0.0139)
− 1 = 0.0141.
LOS 18.d
Given two exchange rate quotes for three different currencies, we can calculate a currency
cross rate. If the MXN/USD quote is 12.1 and the USD/EUR quote is 1.42, we can calculate
the cross rate of MXN/EUR as 12.1 × 1.42 = 17.18.
LOS 18.e
Points in a foreign currency quotation are in units of the last digit of the quotation. For
example, a forward quote of +25.3 when the USD/EUR spot exchange rate is 1.4158 means
that the forward exchange rate is 1.4158 + 0.00253 = 1.41833 USD/EUR.
For a forward exchange rate quote given as a percentage, the percentage (change in the spot
rate) is calculated as forward / spot – 1. A forward exchange rate quote of +1.787%, when the
spot USD/EUR exchange rate is 1.4158, means that the forward exchange rate is 1.4158 (1 +
0.01787) = 1.4411 USD/EUR.
LOS 18.f
If a forward exchange rate does not correctly reflect the difference between the interest rates
for two currencies, an arbitrage opportunity for a riskless profit exists. In this case, borrowing
one currency, converting it to the other currency at the spot rate, investing the proceeds for
the period, and converting the end-of-period amount back to the borrowed currency at the
forward rate will produce more than enough to pay off the initial loan, with the remainder
being a riskless profit on the arbitrage transaction.
LOS 18.g
To calculate a forward premium or forward discount for Currency B using exchange rates
quoted as units of Currency A per unit of Currency B, use the following formula:
(forward / spot) − 1
LOS 18.h
The condition that must be met so that there is no arbitrage opportunity available is:
forward
spot
=
(1+iprice currency )
(1+ibase currency )
so that forward = spot ×
(1+iprice currency )
(1+ibase currency )
If the spot exchange rate for the euro is 1.25 USD/EUR, the euro interest rate is 4% per year,
and the dollar interest rate is 3% per year, the no-arbitrage one-year forward rate can be
calculated as:
1.25 × (1.03 / 1.04) = 1.238 USD/EUR.
LOS 18.i
Exchange rate regimes for countries that do not have their own currency:
With formal dollarization, a country uses the currency of another country.
In a monetary union, several countries use a common currency.
Exchange rate regimes for countries that have their own currency:
A currency board arrangement is an explicit commitment to exchange domestic
currency for a specified foreign currency at a fixed exchange rate.
In a conventional fixed peg arrangement, a country pegs its currency within margins of
±1% versus another currency.
In a system of pegged exchange rates within horizontal bands or a target zone, the
permitted fluctuations in currency value relative to another currency or basket of
currencies are wider (e.g., ±2 %).
With a crawling peg, the exchange rate is adjusted periodically, typically to adjust for
higher inflation versus the currency used in the peg.
With management of exchange rates within crawling bands, the width of the bands that
identify permissible exchange rates is increased over time.
With a system of managed floating exchange rates, the monetary authority attempts to
influence the exchange rate in response to specific indicators, such as the balance of
payments, inflation rates, or employment without any specific target exchange rate.
When a currency is independently floating, the exchange rate is market-determined.
LOS 18.j
Elasticities (ε) of export and import demand must meet the Marshall-Lerner condition for a
depreciation of the domestic currency to reduce an existing trade deficit:
WX ε X + W M (εM − 1) > 0
Under the absorption approach, national income must increase relative to national
expenditure in order to decrease a trade deficit. This can also be viewed as a requirement that
national saving must increase relative to domestic investment in order to decrease a trade
deficit.
ANSWER KEY FOR MODULE QUIZZES
Module Quiz 18.1
1. B An increase in the real exchange rate USD/EUR (the number of USD per one
EUR) means a euro is worth more in purchasing power (real) terms in the United
States. Changes in a real exchange rate depend on the change in the nominal exchange
rate relative to the difference in inflation. By itself, a real exchange rate does not
indicate the directions or degrees of change in either the nominal exchange rate or the
inflation difference. (LOS 18.a)
2. A Large multinational banks make up the sell side of the foreign exchange market.
The buy side includes corporations, real money and leveraged investment accounts,
governments and government entities, and retail purchasers of foreign currencies.
(LOS 18.b)
3. B 1 / 1.311 = 0.7628 GBP/USD. (LOS 18.a)
4. C The CAD has appreciated because it is worth a larger number of JPY. The percent
appreciation is (78 – 75) / 75 = 4.0%. To calculate the percentage depreciation of the
JPY against the CAD, convert the exchange rates to direct quotations for Japan: 1 / 75
= 0.0133 CAD/JPY and 1 / 78 = 0.0128 CAD/JPY. Percentage depreciation = (0.0128
– 0.0133) / 0.0133 = –3.8%. (LOS 18.c)
5. A Start with one NZD and exchange for 1 / 1.6 = 0.625 USD. Exchange the USD for
0.625 × 2,400 = 1,500 IDR. We get a cross rate of 1,500 IDR/NZD or 1 / 1,500 =
0.00067 NZD/IDR. (LOS 18.d)
6. A USD/NZD 0.3500 × NZD/SEK 0.3100 = USD/SEK 0.1085.
Notice that the NZD term cancels in the multiplication. (LOS 18.d)
Module Quiz 18.2
1. B The 180-day forward exchange rate is 1.3050 – 0.00425 = CHF/GBP 1.30075.
(LOS 18.e)
2. B Interest rates are higher in the United States than in New Zealand. It takes fewer
NZD to buy one USD in the forward market than in the spot market. (LOS 18.f)
3. B To calculate a percentage forward premium or discount for the U.S. dollar, we
need the dollar to be the base currency. The spot and forward quotes given are U.S.
dollars per British pound (USD/GBP), so we must invert them to GBP/USD. The spot
GBP/USD price is 1 / 1.533 = 0.6523 and the forward GBP/USD price is 1 / 1.508 =
0.6631. Because the forward price is greater than the spot price, we say the dollar is at
a forward premium of 0.6631 / 0.6523 – 1 = 1.66%. Alternatively, we can calculate this
premium with the given quotes as spot/forward – 1 to get 1.533 / 1.508 – 1 = 1.66%.
(LOS 18.g)
4. B The forward rate in SEK/USD is 9.5238 ( 1.07
) = 9.7985.( 1.07
)= 9.7985. Since
1.04
1.04
the SEK interest rate is the higher of the two, the SEK must depreciate approximately
3%. (LOS 18.h)
5. A We can solve interest rate parity for the spot rate as follows: With the exchange
rates quoted as USD/CHF, the spot is 0.80 ( 1.04
) = 0.7564.( 1.04
)= 0.7564. Since the
1.10
1.10
interest rate is higher in the United States, it should take fewer USD to buy CHF in the
spot market. In other words, the forward USD must be depreciating relative to the spot.
(LOS 18.h)
Module Quiz 18.3
1. C This exchange rate regime is a currency board arrangement. The country has not
formally dollarized because it continues to issue a domestic currency. A conventional
fixed peg allows for a small degree of fluctuation around the target exchange rate.
(LOS 18.i)
2. A With perfectly inelastic demand for imports, currency devaluation of any size will
increase total expenditures on imports (same quantity at higher prices in the home
currency). The trade deficit will narrow only if the increase in export revenues is larger
than the increase in import spending. To satisfy the Marshall-Lerner condition when
import demand elasticity is zero, export demand elasticity must be larger than the ratio
of imports to exports in the country’s international trade. (LOS 18.j)
3. A A devaluation of the currency will reduce the price of export goods in foreign
currency terms. The greatest benefit would be to producers of goods with more elastic
demand. Luxury goods tend to have higher elasticity of demand, while goods that have
no close substitutes or represent a small proportion of consumer expenditures tend to
have low elasticities of demand. (LOS 18.j)
4. B An improvement in a trade deficit requires that domestic savings increase relative
to domestic investment, which would decrease a capital account surplus. Decreasing
expenditures relative to income means domestic savings increase. Decreasing domestic
saving relative to domestic investment is consistent with a larger capital account
surplus (an increase in net foreign borrowing) and a greater trade deficit. (LOS 18.j)
TOPIC ASSESSMENT: ECONOMICS
You have now finished the Economics topic section. The following Topic Assessment provides
immediate feedback on how effective your study has been for this material. The number of
questions on this test is equal to the number of questions for the topic on one-half of the
actual Level I CFA exam. Questions are more exam-like than typical Module Quiz or QBank
questions; a score of less than 70% indicates that your study likely needs improvement. These
tests are best taken timed; allow 1.5 minutes per question.
After you’ve completed this Topic Assessment, you may additionally log in to your
Schweser.com online account and enter your answers in the Topic Assessments product.
Select “Performance Tracker” to view a breakdown of your score. Select “Compare with
Others” to display how your score on the Topic Assessment compares to the scores of others
who entered their answers.
1. An analyst is evaluating the degree of competition in an industry and compiles the
following information:
Few significant barriers to entry or exit exist.
Firms in the industry produce slightly differentiated products.
Each firm faces a demand curve that is largely unaffected by the actions of other
individual firms in the industry.
The analyst should characterize the competitive structure of this industry as:
A. oligopoly.
B. monopoly.
C. monopolistic competition.
2. Which of the following statements about the behavior of firms in a perfectly
competitive market is least accurate?
A. A firm experiencing economic losses in the short run will continue to operate if
its revenues are greater than its variable costs.
B. A firm that is producing less than the quantity for which marginal cost equals the
market price would lose money by increasing production.
C. If firms are earning economic profits in the short run, new firms will enter the
market and reduce economic profits to zero in the long run.
3. Compared to a customs union or a common market, the primary advantage of an
economic union is that:
A. its members adopt a common currency.
B. its members have a common economic policy.
C. it removes barriers to imports and exports among its members.
4. A country’s balance of payments accounts show the following:
A net inflow of capital transfers.
Greater sales than purchases of non-financial assets.
Greater foreign-owned assets in the country than government-owned assets
abroad.
The country is most accurately described as having:
A. a capital account deficit.
B. a current account deficit.
C. a financial account deficit.
5. Other things equal, an increase of 2.0% in the price of Product X results in a 1.4%
increase in the quantity demanded of Product Y and a 0.7% decrease in the quantity
demanded of Product Z. Which statement about products X, Y and Z is least accurate?
A. Products X and Y are substitutes.
B. Products X and Z are complements.
C. Products Y and Z are complements.
6. The EUR/USD spot exchange rate is 0.70145, and one-year interest rates are 3% in
EUR and 2% in USD. The forward USD/EUR exchange rate is closest to:
A. 1.1426.
B. 1.4118.
C. 1.4396.
7. Depreciation of a country’s currency is most likely to narrow its trade deficit when:
A. its imports are greater in value than its exports.
B. price elasticity of import demand is greater than one.
C. investment increases relative to private and government savings.
8. According to real business cycle theory, business cycles result from:
A. rational responses to external shocks.
B. inappropriate changes in monetary policy.
C. increases and decreases in business confidence.
9. A decrease in the target U.S. federal funds rate is least likely to result in:
A. a proportionate decrease in long-term interest rates.
B. an increase in consumer spending on durable goods.
C. depreciation of the U.S. dollar on the foreign exchange market.
10. For an economy that is initially at full-employment real GDP, an increase in aggregate
demand will most likely have what effects on the price level and real GDP in the short
run?
A. Both will increase in the short run.
B. Neither will increase in the short run.
C. Only one will increase in the short run.
11. Potential real GDP is least likely to increase as a result of:
A. an improvement in technology.
B. an increase in the money wage rate.
C. an increase in the labor force participation ratio.
12. When the economy is operating at the natural rate of unemployment, it is most likely
that:
A. inflation is accelerating.
B. frictional unemployment is absent.
C. structural unemployment is present.
TOPIC ASSESSMENT ANSWERS: ECONOMICS
1. C Both oligopoly and monopolistic competition are consistent with firms that
produce slightly differentiated products. However, with few significant barriers to entry
and little interdependence among competitors, the industry does not fit the definition of
an oligopoly and would be best characterized as monopolistic competition. (Study
Session 4, Module 13.4, LOS 13.h)
2. B A firm that is producing more than the quantity where its marginal revenue (the
market price in perfect competition) is equal to its marginal cost is losing money on
sales of additional units. A firm producing where marginal cost is less than price is
foregoing additional profit by not increasing production. The other responses
accurately describe characteristics of firms in perfectly competitive markets. (Study
Session 4, Module 13.1, LOS 13.e)
3. B The advantage of an economic union is that its members establish common
economic policies and institutions. A common currency is a characteristic of a
monetary union. All regional trading agreements remove barriers to imports and
exports among their members. (Study Session 5, Module 17.2, LOS 17.f)
4. B The components listed indicate that the capital and financial accounts are in
surplus. This indicates that the current account must be in deficit. (Study Session 5,
Module 17.2, LOS 17.h)
5. C It does not necessarily follow from the information given in the question that
products Y and Z are complements.
The increase in the price of Product X caused the quantity demanded of Product Y to
increase (positive cross-price elasticity) and caused the quantity demanded of Product
Z to decrease (negative cross-price elasticity). This suggests that Product Y is a
substitute for Product X, and Product Z is a complement to Product X.
But this does not mean Product Y is a complement to Product Z. For example, gasoline
is a complement to automobiles; bicycles are a substitute for automobiles; but gasoline
is not a complement to bicycles. (Study Session 4, Module 12.1, LOS 12.a)
6. B 0.70145 × 1.03 / 1.02 = 0.7083; 1 / 0.7083 = 1.4118. (Study Session 5, Module
18.2, LOS 18.h)
7. B The elasticities approach to evaluating the effect of exchange rates on the trade
balance suggests that the more elastic both import demand and export demand are, the
more likely currency depreciation is to narrow a trade deficit. A country with a trade
deficit imports more than it exports by definition. An increase in investment relative to
savings would tend to increase the trade deficit (net exports equal private and
government savings minus investment). (Study Session 5, Module 18.3, LOS 18.j)
8. A Real business cycle theory holds that economic cycles are driven by utilitymaximizing individuals and firms responding to changes in real economic factors, such
as changes in technology. Keynesian cycle theory attributes the business cycle to
changes in business confidence. Monetarist theory attributes the business cycle to
inappropriate changes in the rate of money supply growth. (Study Session 4, Module
15.1, LOS 15.c)
9. A Changes in the U.S. federal funds rate and changes in long-term interest rates are
unlikely to be proportionate. Long-term rates are the sum of short-term rates and a
premium for the expected rate of inflation. If a decrease (increase) in the target federal
funds rate by the Fed causes economic agents to increase (decrease) their inflation
expectations, the change in long-term rates will be less than the change in the federal
funds rate. Increases in spending on consumer durables and a decrease in the foreign
exchange value of the U.S. dollar are among the expected results of a decrease in the
target U.S. federal funds rate. (Study Session 5, Module 16.2, LOS 16.k)
10. A An increase in aggregate demand will cause short-run equilibrium to move along
the short-run aggregate supply curve. This will tend to increase both real GDP and the
price level in the short run. (Study Session 4, Module 14.3, LOS 14.l)
11. B An increase in the money wage rate would not increase long-run aggregate supply
(potential real GDP), but instead would decrease the short-run aggregate supply curve.
An improvement in technology would tend to increase potential real GDP. An increase
in the participation ratio increases the full-employment quantity of labor supplied and
potential real GDP. (Study Session 4, Module 14.2, LOS 14.h)
12. C Structural and frictional unemployment are always present. The natural rate of
unemployment is the lowest rate consistent with non-accelerating inflation. (Study
Session 4, Module 15.2, LOS 15.d)
FORMULAS
% change in quantity demanded
% change in own price
own-price elasticity =
income elasticity =
% change in quantity demanded
% change in income
cross-price elasticity
% change in quantity demanded
% change in price of related good
=
breakeven points:
perfect competition: AR = ATC
imperfect competition: TR = TC
short-run shutdown points:
perfect competition: AR < AVC
imperfect competition: TR < TVC
N
= ∑ Pi ,t Qi,t
nominal GDPt for year t
i=1
N
= ∑ (price of good i in year t)
i=1
× (quantity of good i produced in year t)
N
real GDP for year t
= ∑ Pi ,base year Qi ,t
i=1
N
= ∑ (price of good i in base year)
i=1
× (quantity of good i produced in year t)
N
GDP deflator for year t =
∑ Pi,t Qi ,t
i=1
N
∑ P i,bas eyear Qi,t
× 100 =
nominal GDP in year t
×
value of year t output at base year prices
i=1
GDP, expenditure approach:
GDP = C + I + G + (X − M)
where:
C = consumption spending
I = business investment (capital equipment, inventories)
G = government purchases
X = exports
M = imports
GDP, income approach:
100
GDP = national income + capital consumption allowance + statistical discrepancy
national income
= compensation of employees (wages and benefits)
+ corporate and government enterprise profits before taxes
+ interest income
+ unincorporated business net income (business owners’ incomes)
+ rent
+ indirect business taxes – subsidies (taxes and subsidies that are included in final prices)
growth in potential GDP = growth in technology + WL(growth in labor) + WC(growth in
capital)
where:
WL = labor’s percentage share of national income
WC = capital’s percentage share of national income
growth in per-capita potential GDP = growth in technology + WC(growth in the capital-tolabor ratio)
where:
WC = capital’s percentage share of national income
consumer price index =
money multiplier =
cost of basket at current prices
× 100
cost of basket at base period prices
1
reserve requirement
equation of exchange: money supply × velocity = price × real output (MV = PY)
Fisher effect: nominal interest rate = real interest rate + expected inflation rate
neutral interest rate = real trend rate of economic growth + inflation target
fiscal multiplier:
1
1−MPC(1−t)
where:
t = tax rate
MPC = marginal propensity to consume
real exchange rate = nominal exchange rate × ( CPI base currency )
CPI
price currency
real exchange rate =
nominal exchange rate
(
CPI price currency
CPI base currency
)
forward premium (+) or discount (−) for the base currency:
forward
spot
−1
interest rate parity:
forward
spot
=
(1+interest rateprice currency )
(1+interest ratebase currency )
Marshall-Lerner condition:
WX εX + WM (εM − 1) > 0
where:
WM = proportion of trade that is imports
WX = proportion of trade that is exports
εM = elasticity of demand for imports
εX = elasticity of demand for exports
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SCHWESERNOTES™ 2020 LEVEL I CFA® BOOK 2: ECONOMICS
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